With a focus on maintaining infrastructure, the Colorado Department of Transportation has an estimated $94 million in roadwork planned for Region 5 this summer and fall.
A 9.1-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 160 will be resurfaced from the Montezuma County line to about 2 miles west of the intersection of U.S. 160 and Colorado Highway 140 at Hesperus. The project is set for the fall and projected at $7.3 million.
Because the road is wide in that stretch, traffic delays are anticipated to be minimal and last for no more than 15 minutes at a time, Nancy Shanks, CDOT spokeswoman, said in an interview Friday.
A wildlife crossing - an underpass for large animals - will be built under U.S. 160 about five miles east of Elmore's Corner, between mile markers 97 and 98 outside Durango. Highway shoulders will be widened, and wildlife fencing will be installed on both sides of the highway to funnel animals into the underpass.
Because of the presence of migratory birds, the work will begin after Sept. 1; it is scheduled to run through November. Shanks said it is expected that the majority of work will be done outside travel lanes, and no major traffic delays are anticipated during construction.
As many as 75 percent of the accidents that occur between Durango and Bayfield are collisions between vehicles and animals, Shanks said.
"That is a huge migration corridor out there," she said.
Region 5 covers all or part of 15 counties in Southwest Colorado, reaching north into Ouray County and part of Montrose County, northeast as far as Chaffee County and as far east as Costilla County.