Highway 9 Project nears completion | SkyHiDailyNews.com

Highway 9 Project nears completion

The beautiful wildlife of the Rocky Mountains is a fundamental part of the lives of those who live in Grand County.

For many that means hunting and fishing or maybe traipsing through the forest looking for a great photograph of one of the majestic creatures that calls the high country home. But if you live at an elevation of 8,000 feet for very long you’ll quickly come to know one of the most common ways people encounter wildlife; through traffic accidents.

To better protect wildlife and travelers in the state the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) began construction on a safety project for State Highway 9 in the spring of 2015. The project is now nearing completion and CDOT held a ribbon cutting late last week.

Officials from CDOT released details of the current state of the project earlier this week. According to information provided by Tracy Trulove, CDOT Communications Manager for Region Three, the project is, “nearing completion as construction crews are months ahead of the original projected schedule.”

The update is derived from a brief report provided by LaSheita Sayer, with the ZoZo Group.

The briefing from Sayer states, “To date, construction crews have completed all paving operations and the wildlife underpasses and overpass structures are near completion. Crews are currently finishing the deer fence installation along the highway as well as completing the slope grading.”

Physical construction on the State Highway 9 project officially began in early April 2015 but discussions about the project have been ongoing for several years including open house events put on by CDOT in late 2014. The total budget of the Highway 9 Project is $40 million which covers a scope of work including: installing five wildlife underpasses, installing two wildlife overpasses, widening the highway’s shoulder to eight feet and alignment upgrades.

The work is being done over an 11-mile segment of State Highway 9 between Kremmling and Silverthorne that sees between 3,100 and 3,600 vehicles traveling daily through the corridor, according to data from CDOT.

As the work nears completion CDOT rep Trulove explained the ribbon cutting ceremony was held in early Oct. to take advantage of hospitable weather conditions. Trulove explained most work on the project is winding down with contractors begin to look at wrap-up items such as punch lists. The official projected completion date for the Highway 9 Project is July 2017, according to the CDOT webpage dedicated to the project.