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Motorists warned of washboard surfaces on backcountry roads

Motorists are warned to beware of wash-boarded surfaces on gravel roads when accessing the San Juan National Forest this summer.

The public is urged to drive slowly and allow extra time to arrive at backcountry destinations. Washboards form on steeper grades and curves and can cause drivers to lose control of vehicles, sometimes resulting in serious accidents. The San Juan National Forest has about 700 miles of open gravel roads, but only minimal equipment to address the problem.

“Dry conditions, coupled with high vehicular speeds and traffic volumes, can cause washboard hazards to develop,” said Bill Ivy, San Juan National Forest Civil Engineering Technician. “As the busy holiday approaches, our crews will continue to work on the most traveled routes, but little relief can be expected through the summer.”

For more information on road conditions, contact a San Juan Public Lands office closest to your destination or go online to