A conceptual overview of the process that will eventually produce a highway access control plan (ACP) for Highway 92 across Rogers Mesa was presented at the county commissioners' meeting on Monday, March 6.
Stolfus and Associates, the traffic engineering firm that last year completed a highway access plan for the Highway 50/92 corridor at Delta, will be working on the access plan for the Highway 92 corridor from Hidden Springs to the grade crossing just west of Hotchkiss. Tentative completion date for the ACP is November.
Present for the commissioners' session were several CDOT officials, county road and engineering staff, and some residents of the corridor area. As Stolfus is set to begin work on the ACP, CDOT is also set to begin design and engineering for road improvement construction through the corridor. CDOT officials reported on Monday that the agency is scheduled to allocate $400,000 beginning July for engineering and design work on their project. Road and traffic improvements to Highway 92 are currently ranked as the number two priority transportation project in the Gunnison Valley region. The project has been strongly supported by the county commissioners for years. Actual construction is still seen a number of years in the future.
The Stolfus ACP will deal with a number of issues, including the 152 access points to the highway along its four-mile route across Rogers Mesa, commissioners were told. Stolfus is interested in an access concept that will provide no more than one access to any property. The traffic engineers will be looking for places where adjoining properties can share an access in order to reduce the total number of access points to Highway 92, a goal that is considered key to improving
safety of the roadway. The ACP will look at land use patterns and how they might develop to affect traffic in future years.
The ACP process will look at major intersections and at turn lanes which are needed to separate slowing traffic from through traffic. According to Michelle Hansen, traffic engineer with Stolfus, their plan would envisage "a two-lane highway with full movement intersections."
Stolfus and CDOT will work "in tandem" and in close communication during the ACP phase, officials said.
Commissioners were told that the public will be fully and actively engaged during the ACP process. There is already a link to the ACP project with up-to-date information on the county's website. Hansen said barring any unexpected changes in the project schedule, an open house is being tentatively scheduled for April 5 at Hotchkiss High School.
Shortly after the open house, Hansen said that one-on-one meetings with some parcel owners in the corridor will be scheduled. Others will get direct mailings about the project. And, CDOT is opening up a public access website where the public will be able to view maps and information, make comments and read comments made by others (see related story).
Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Millie Hamner, House District 61, Colorado State University plans to re-open the Rogers Mesa research site.
The facility was taken out of operation in 2011, due to budget cuts throughout the CSU system.