County readies for road work

With warmer temperatures signaling the imminent approach of spring, Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department managers are preparing for a busy season of road repair, including tackling a long-awaited road capital improvement project and undertaking a major graveling operation.

“I really look forward to the prospect of putting 35,000 tons of gravel on county roads,” said Archuleta County Administrator Greg Schulte.

Schulte’s comment followed a board of county commissioner vote to approve issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase 35,000 tons of gravel( with Ballot Issue 1A funds earmarked for road maintenance) for resurfacing projects this spring and summer.

Archuleta County Road and Bridge Superintendent David Guilliams said the gravel will be used to resurface portions of County Road 302 (Mill Creek Road), County Road 200 (Snowball Road), County Road 326 (Upper Blanco Road), County Road 335 (Lower Blanco Road) and Hersch Ave.

Guilliams added that 2006 marked the county’s last gravel purchase.

In addition to paving the way for graveling portions of several county roads, a second commissioner vote Tuesday also brought the paving of Park Avenue one step closer to fruition.

The vote allows county staff to issue an RFP for engineering and construction management for repaving the entire length of Park Avenue — from North Pagosa Boulevard to Piedra Road via Cloud Cap Avenue.

Although the vote to issue the RFP appears redundant when compared to prior board action, Schulte explained the scope and scale of the project have expanded, thus precipitating the need for a new RFP. For example, and according to Schulte, the original project had just a section of Park Avenue slated for resurfacing — from North Pagosa Boulevard to Carlee Place.

Archuleta County has spent about $50,000 with Smith Engineering for engineering and design work linked to the smaller scale project, although Schulte said, regardless of the winning bidder, he hopes much of the Smith Engineering work will be carried over to the expanded project.

Schulte said county staff had originally decided to chip seal Park Avenue from North Pagosa to Carlee Place. However, after reviewing the road’s condition and traffic counts, Schulte said county staff opted for paving instead.

“We determined chip seal was not the right approach and that paving was a better option,” Schulte said.

Although an expanded project will cost more, Schulte said he is confident the county can handle the expense by using a combination of Road Capital Improvement Fund and Ballot Issue 1A dollars earmarked for road maintenance. And, Schulte added, county staff think the expanded paving project is worth the effort and expense.

“The one has been languishing for a couple years and we really want to get on it. We want to do something significant,” Schulte said.