Chip-seal operations are underway at the eastern edge of Cortez for a project that will bring a fresh surface to U.S. Highway 160 from the eastern edge of town to the top of Mancos Hill.
The $2.6 million project, which will go through Mancos, includes a chip seal of Colorado Highway 145 from U.S. 160 north for 1.3 miles.
Lisa Schwantes of the Colorado Department of Transportation said delays Tuesday in Cortez averaged about 12 minutes, but times should drop as crews move east, away from traffic lights in town.
Weather permitting, crews on U.S. 160 expect to be at mile marker 49, the Mesa Verde National Park exit, by the end of the week.
The project, which should wrap up in July, will apply protective material to the road to prevent deterioration and will upgrade ramps and bridges at the Mesa Verde interchange.
CDOT chose smaller rock chip for the project, three-eighth inch thick instead of half-inch rock, to provide a smoother surface for cyclists.
Crews also will place a layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone and cement, called micro-surfacing, on two small sections of U.S. 160 to test its viability as a maintenance surface treatment. The two sections will be near the Sleeping Ute Mountain Rest Area and east of Mancos.
The areas will be monitored over time by CDOT for performance and durability.