Nominee: Best Recovery Act Project – Small Project
“I am very excited to see this work begin. This is great news for the region. The American Recovery Act was intended to improve America’s infrastructure and keep American jobs. This is a project that accomplishes both of those goals.”
John Salazar (D-CO)
Improving SH 62 over the Dallas Divide was the first project on Colorado’s Western Slope to be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—and the second in the state. Colorado Department of Transportation crews officially broke ground on May 17, 2009, and finished work under budget and ahead of schedule in early October.
CDOT contracted the work for $6.9 million. The total project budget was $11.2 million—$4 million of which came from Recovery Act funds, the rest from CDOT resurfacing funds. The original project involved a 12-mile stretch, but was extended to the highway’s full 21 miles, due to Recovery Act funding and very good contractor bid savings.
The improved stretch of highway lies in one of Colorado’s most stunning environments—SH 62 winds over the divide between the picturesque town of Ridgway and the world-class ski resort town of Telluride (connecting from SH 145). The approximate 23-mile stretch forms the north portion of one of Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways—the San Juan Skyway, also designated an “All American Road.”
Travelers on SH 62 over the Dallas Divide enjoy amazing views of wildlife, wildflowers, and the 14,150-foot peak of Mt. Sneffels. While this stretch of highway receives around 4,500 vehicles a day—this number can triple in the summer months during the area’s many festivals, events and cycling tours. The area also receives the volatile freeze-thaw conditions of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain winters.
SH 62 was in desperate need of resurfacing and safety improvements. Recovery Act funds enabled CDOT to move this project forward—and even extend the amount of miles that could be improved. The project involved deep patch repairs, milling, guardrail replacement, asphalt resurfacing and shoulder widening on SH 62, from Ridgway west over Dallas Divide to just east of Placerville (milepost 22 to 0.5). Work also included resurfacing at the intersection with US 550 in Ridgway, as well as the addition of auxiliary lanes just north of town.