Citizens for a Safe Highway 9 and a Matching Grant
An exciting opportunity has presented itself to fund the Highway 9 Safety Project, and local residents have formed the Citizens for a Safe Highway 9 Committee, lead by lifetime Grand County resident Mike Ritschard, in order to take advantage of it.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will be accepting applications on May 1, 2013, to fast track important road improvement projects in the state. The program is called RAMP (Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships). To qualify for consideration under RAMP, local governments must raise 20% of the total cost of the project and submit an application that explains why the project should be put on a fast track for completion.
On April 9, the Grand County Commissioners agreed to submit an application for the program. The total cost of the project is estimated to be nearly $46 million, which means raising $9.2 million locally in order to meet the 20% requirement. In response to the formation of the Citizens for a Safe Hwy 9 Committee, Blue Valley Ranch agreed to offer a matching grant of $4 million, which, combined with previous contributions from the Ranch, leaves $4.3 million to be raised by the Committee by July 1, 2013.
In 2011, Blue Valley Ranch provided a grant of $805,000 to kick start the design phase of the Hwy 9 Safety Project, which would include wildlife fencing and crossings, the addition of 8-ft shoulders for bike paths, and some re-alignment to improve site-distances. Last year, when design was at the 30% mark, CDOT held a public meeting to gather input on improving this 10.6 mile stretch of highway from Green Mtn Dam Road to the Colorado River Crossing. That design is now nearing completion, so the major obstacle now is to find funding to begin actual construction. This, it turns out, could become a reality sooner rather than later.
Be sure to take a look at the latest articles in the Sky Hi and Summit Daily News at the links below. You will also find some additional information on Highway 9, including a map, fact sheet and press release.
UPDATE – 4/25/2013: The project received further coverage yesterday on Denver’s Channel 4 News.
UPDATE – 4/25/2013: The two overpasses that are planned for the project, if constructed, will be the first of their kind in Colorado. Here is what they could look like, from an aerial perspective, along with the new 8-ft shoulders.
Hwy 9 Fact Sheet (pdf)
Hwy 9 Map (pdf)
Hwy 9 News Release (pdf)
Sky Hi News – 4/24/2013 (pdf)
Wildlife Overpass (jpg)