Open House and Public Hearing November 2

October 13, 2011 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - US 550 South Connection at US 160 in Grandview – Draft Document Now Available for Review and Comment.

LA PLATA COUNTY The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announce the release of an evaluation of the alternatives for a US 550 connection to US 160 in Grandview and request comments from the public. The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Section 4(f) Evaluation (SDEIS) is available as of October 14 for viewing and public comment over the next 45 days.

This SDEIS has been prepared because of issues that had come to light during design of the US 550 south connection to US 160. The SDEIS revisits only the alignment and connection of US 550 to US 160, not the entire US 160 corridor. It supplements the existing 2006 Environmental Impact Statement to address the newly identified impacts to historic and archaeological sites and any other changes related to the connection of US 550—both natural and manmade. The SDEIS fully evaluates three reasonable alternatives for a US 550 connection based on whether they meet purpose and need requirements for highway improvements (capacity, safety and access), as well as cost and logistical factors.

The alternatives evaluated are:  1) Revised G Modified, the 2006 Record of Decision Preferred Alternative (with a slight alignment shift), which would realign US 550 to connect at the Grandview Interchange; 2) Revised F Modified, which connects at Three Springs Blvd.; and 3) Eastern Realignment, which also connects at Three Springs Blvd. (see attached map).

The SDEIS identifies the Revised G Modified Alternative as the Preferred Alternative. Although a Preferred Alternative has been identified in this SDEIS, no final decision has been made. CDOT and FHWA are soliciting public comment at a public hearing on November 2 and during a 45-day public and agency comment period ending November 28, 2011. All comments will be considered in the preparation of a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (comments and responses will be recorded in the document) before the FHWA can make a Record of Decision.

Alternatives considered in the SDEIS, but not advanced for detailed evaluation, include a western realignment and several alternatives using the existing US 550 alignment and its current connection with US 160 (known locally as Farmington Hill). It was determined that these alternatives do not meet the purpose and need requirements (capacity, safety, access) or other screening criteria (cost, logistics). Additionally, a ‘No Action’ alternative was analyzed that would keep US 550 on its current alignment, where poor geometry, low design speeds and two-lane capacity on a north-facing steep grade presents both capacity and safety issues This alternative is evaluated in the SDEIS to provide a benchmark for comparison of the environmental impacts.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED: A public hearing will be held on November 2 at Escalante Middle School, 141 Baker Lane in Durango, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. The document is available to the public as of October 14 at Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio public libraries, San Juan Public Lands Center, City of Durango, La Plata County and CDOT’s main Durango office.  In the Denver area the document will be available for public review at CDOT Headquarters and at the FHWA Colorado Division office. To view the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement and make comments online, please go to this link: Or, comments can be mailed to Sandra Taylor, CDOT, 3803 North Main Avenue, Suite 300, Durango, CO 81301; or faxed to 970-385-1410.

US 550 SDEIS Alternatives (pdf)