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Agencies Celebrate Start of CO 13 Project in Garfield County

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO — Representatives from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Federal Highway Administration, and contractor IHC Scott recently gathered to celebrate the beginning of the Colorado Highway 13 Rio Blanco Hill widening project. Agency representatives spoke of benefits of the multiyear project and the teamwork necessary for it to be completed. The project is part of CDOT’s statewide 10-year plan to improve highways across Colorado.

"This project will significantly improve safety on this key corridor connecting the Western Slope with Interstate 70 in Colorado and Interstate 80 in Wyoming,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “It is a connection for the greater freight and roadway network Colorado Highway 13, but this roadway also serves as a critical link to goods and services for local municipalities.”

Currently CO 13 has a high incidence of single vehicle run-off crashes, head-on crashes, and wildlife collisions. “These high crash rates are directly related to the substandard roadway geometry, lack of shoulders and adequate recoverable slopes, and lack of wildlife fencing,” said John Cater, Colorado Division Administrator for Federal Highway Administration.

With the project underway, crews will reconstruct the roadway to build wider lanes, pull-outs, and wildlife underpass. Widening the roadway will improve traffic flow and the resurfacing will create smoother pavement and improved driving conditions. To help with the flow of traffic, new passing lanes will be created from 26 feet to 40 feet, as well as new safety pull-outs will be beneficial for slower traffic. A wildlife underpass will help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, and a new chain up location will provide a safer pull off for travelers to put on and take off chains in inclement weather.

The project will be completed in two phases.

“During the first phase of the project, the team will work on culverts, drainage, embankment, and widening of slopes,” said Resident Engineer Andrew Knapp, “as well as the start of the wildlife underpass.”

The project anticipated winter shutdown will be November 1, 2022 to April 1, 2023, weather depending.

The location of the project is on CO 13, about 11 miles north of Rifle. Work will take place from approximately Mile Points 13 to 16. Construction on the project is anticipated to be complete by November 2023.

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