The invasion of the flaggers
Brief by Central Staff
Transportation – August 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine
The journey between Salida and Buena Vista usually takes less than half an hour. This summer, though, it sometimes seems to take an eternity, on account of delays for highway construction.
The delay can get even longer when an idling car overheats and blocks everything behind it until it can be pushed off the road. On the bright side, all those sitting cars could help, in a minor way, with the drought, since every gallon of gas that gets burned will produce about a gallon of water.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, that work (on U.S. 24-285 for 11.3 miles south of Buena Vista) will continue through August, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. CDOT says “15-minute delays,” even if it seems longer to us.
Also running through August will be another delay on U.S. 285, this one through Villa Grove. From 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, traffic will alternate along one lane, with 15-minute delays possible. And there’s a 12-foot width restriction in effect 24 hours a day.
On U.S. 50, the speed limit is only 25 mph near Maysville as a bridge gets replaced with a concrete box culvert, and some minor delays are expected. Work runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through September. Access to County Roads 241 and 243 will be restricted from time to time.
Farther west, over by Sargents, CDOT should be done repaving the bridge over Dawson Creek by the end of July. If they’re not done, expect 15-minute delays and some single-lane driving.
Even farther west on U.S. 50, in the Cimarron area, CDOT is making big improvements, which means 15-minute delays and single-lane driving. The work runs 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Friday, and it’s expected to continue through November.
If you want more 15-minute delays and single-lane driving, you can check out U.S. 285 south of La Jara through August, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and Colo. 149 between Creede and South Fork, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The latter has a 10-foot width restriction, too.
And don’t plan a night trip over Wolf Creek Pass. Night closures from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. will resume July 22, and will last for at least two weeks while they work on a tunnel. In the daytime, expect delays of 30 to 45 minutes, and there’s a 10-foot width restriction.
We thought that at least Buena Vista might be benefiting from this construction, our theory being that people might drive down U.S. 285 from Denver, encounter the construction delay, and as they idled in the hot sun, they could think “Aren’t there motel rooms and restaurants back there? Why don’t we turn around and see?”
But Judy Hassell at the Chamber there said tourism is off, even with that “assistance” from the state.
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