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Forum to consider 2010 road projects

Members of the Archuleta County Roads Task Force will recommend six roads for repaving in 2010, and they will unveil the list during a public forum Thursday, Sept. 10, in the County Extension Building at the fairgrounds.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m.

A previous public road forum suffered abysmal attendance with roughly 25 citizens present to weigh in, although the county commissioners say they hope the promise of a list of potential projects will inspire a strong turnout and a spirited discussion.

There is about $4 million available for road projects in 2010.

Although all the projects on the six-project list are currently paving projects, Archuleta County Commissioner Bob Moomaw said there has been preliminary discussion on allocating a portion of the $4 million for gravel operations.

Moomaw said a significant commitment to graveling could have a meaningful, positive impact on miles of roads within the county system and Commissioner Clifford Lucero concurred. Neither commissioner advocated or suggested a particular dollar amount.

By contrast, and according to county staff, paving can cost roughly $1 million per mile, whereas 12 to 13 miles of county road could be gravelled for the same amount. Gravel operations average about $80,000 per mile, although the cost of either procedure ultimately depends on the project scope, engineering and total labor involved

The task force will likely encourage comment on the proposition of allocating dollars toward gravel and the six-project list in general. Then, and following the public forum, the task force will take its recommendations to the board of county commissioners for adoption at a later date.

In short, no final decisions will be made during the public forum.

In addition to discussion of the six-project list, the agenda will include an overview on the present state of the Archuleta County road system and other details of the county roads plan.

The board of county commissioners created the Roads Advisory Task Force July 1, 2009, and charged it with two key tasks: First, to work with county administrative staff and the public works department to develop a road capital improvement project list for 2010. Second, the task force will assist in developing a long-term road capital improvement and road maintenance plan.

In related action during their Sept. 1 regular meeting:

The BoCC approved spending $27,000 to update the 2005 Utah LTAP county road study. The study, said public works director Ken Feyen, will provide staff and roads task force members with data necessary for making informed decisions on repair and maintenance of the county’s road system.

The board also authorized Feyen to proceed with advertising for “on-call” road and bridge engineering services. Feyen and Archuleta County Administrator Greg Schulte said having engineering firms on hand and working through the winter once 2010 projects are identified will allow the county to expeditiously execute on projects slated for next spring.