CDOT’S Roadside Mowing Underway

August 27, 2013 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Mowing delayed until late summer for the second year in a row due to fire ban.

SOUTHWEST COLORADO – For CDOT maintenance, it’s not just about the plow. Many non-winter activities keep maintenance forces busy, from the more obvious resurfacing projects to the lesser-observed (but very important) fence and culvert repairs. Keeping Colorado’s state highway system maintained is a round-the-clock effort and work schedules are often dependent upon weather and other unpredictable forces.

“We were unable to mow the roadsides in the early summer as we’d planned, due to the fire hazard the machinery can cause,” CDOT Region 5 Section 3 (Durango and surrounding area) Maintenance Superintendent Kyle Lester said. “We then got into the monsoon season, which has kept us busy with rocks and mud, among our regularly scheduled activities.”

CDOT’s Region 5 includes the counties of Alamosa, Archuleta, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Mineral, Montezuma, Montrose (southern), Rio Grande, Saguache, San Juan and San Miguel. In the off-winter months in Region 5, crews are busy patching the highway, sealing cracks and resurfacing the roadway—things that require dry weather. When the rains hit, crews can continue repairing guardrail, roadside reflective delineators, culverts, fence and more. But when emergencies arise, whether natural or manmade (the mudslide on SH 145 near Telluride or semi-passenger car collision on US 285 in the San Luis Valley), CDOT crews respond. It makes for a summer that, at times, can be every bit as challenging as the winter months.

“With our volatile weather, high mountain passes and much fewer “alternate routes” than on the Front Range,” CDOT Region 5 Transportation Director Kerrie Neet said. “That makes our maintenance efforts really vital here.”

Here’s a snapshot of CDOT Region 5 Maintenance Section 3 (Durango and surrounding areas west of Wolf Creek Pass) and Section 7 (Alamosa and surrounding areas east the pass)  non-winter activities over the past fiscal year (July 1, 2012 through July 1, 2013):

REGION 5 MAINTENANCE (Sections 3 and 7 combined):

1,531 Total Centerline Miles of Roadway to Maintain; 238 Total Employees
Roadway Surface:
6,336 SY potholes patched; 42,027 SY rotomilling; 494,179 LF shoulders maintained; 1,440,935 SY seal coating/chip sealing.
Roadside Facilities: 692 culverts cleaned; 209,798 LF ditches cleaned; 23,215 CY slope repair; 1.9 million LF fence maintained; 2,710 CY trash picked up; 9,995 hours removing roadway debris/rocks; 2,849 miles sweeping  
Roadside Appearance: 2,952 miles mowed; 2,479 trees planted/trimmed/removed; 1,666 shoulder-acres treated for noxious weeds
Traffic Services: 3,360 signs repaired/replaced/maintained; 56,819 delineators repaired; 49,251 LF guardrail repaired/maintained; 1,550 LF concrete guardrail repaired/maintained
Structure Maintenance: 331 bridge inspections; 286 bridges cleaned/painted; 10,130 SY bridge deck repaired.

Roadside mowing operations are currently underway regionwide. Motorists will encounter minimal impacts to their travel, with the occasional lane or shoulder closure. Drivers are encouraged to slow down and pass with caution nearing mowing equipment. Thanks for going Slow for the Cone Zone!

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