The Highway 9 Safety Project Passes a Major Funding Hurdle
“Northwest Colorado is one big step closer to a safer Highway 9”
Travelers of State Highway 9 between Green Mtn Reservoir and Kremmling can thank the Grand County Commissioners for taking action to make the road safer. The commissioners voted to pledge up to $3.1 million to complete the funding match necessary for the Highway 9 Safety Project to be considered for fast track RAMP approval by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
RAMP (Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships) is a program created by CDOT to move forward with badly needed road projects by combining state funding with local funds. 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.
This completes a major hurdle in the efforts of the Citizens for a Safe Hwy 9 committee to raise the funds necessary to move the project forward in the RAMP process. The committee is a group of local residents who came together to raise the 20% match to qualify for RAMP consideration because they recognized it would take a community-wide effort. The deadline for submitting a RAMP application with a fully funded 20 percent match is July 1. CDOT will announce which projects receive final RAMP approval on September 19.
By the time the project is built, the total cost to make these vital safety improvements to SH9 is estimated to be nearly $46 million. Grand County’s contribution completes the drive to raise $9.2 million, or 20% of that $46 million, to qualify for RAMP consideration.
SH9 is a major traffic route between Kremmling and Silverthorne in Summit and Grand counties. The narrow stretch of highway between mile markers 126 and 137, near the Green Mountain Dam Road and Colorado River Crossing, has long been the site of collisions between motorists and wildlife. It bisects a major winter migration path for wildlife, separating winter range east of the highway from the Blue River, a primary water source on the west side of the road.
The SH9 safety project will improve the 10.6-mile stretch of the highway with overpasses and underpasses designed to allow deer and elk to travel safely from one side of the highway to the other. Fencing will prevent deer and elk from moving across the road and guide them to safe passage over and under the highway.
The proposed project will also widen SH9 and improve road alignment to enhance sightlines. The highway is used by school buses and by visitors traveling to recreation destinations in Summit, Grand, Routt, Jackson and other counties in northwest Colorado. The two-lane highway is frequently congested with heavy traffic, which creates an even higher risk of collision between vehicles and wildlife, particularly at night. The plan also envisions eight-foot-wide paved shoulders for the highway that could accommodate bike paths.
Citizens for a Safe Hwy 9 Info (pdf)
Hwy 9 Fact Sheet (pdf)
Hwy 9 Map (pdf)
Wildlife Overpass (jpg)
Wildlife Underpass (jpg)