US 85 Ault to Wyoming Border

In 2016 and 2017, CDOT made several safety improvements to a 30-mile span of US 85 between the town of Ault and the Wyoming state line in northern Colorado. Work started just north of Ault at mile point(MP) 281 and moved north through several communities to MP 309.5 in Weld County.

Project work included:

  • the addition of shoulders to sections of the highway;
  • installation of rumble strips along the centerline of the roadway;
  • repaving of the highway;
  • realignment of a portion of the highway just north of Ault;
  • irrigation and drainage improvements;
  • bridge work;
  • the installation of new snow gates north of Ault and at County Road (CR) 100 in Nunn; and
  • the installation of a new weather station at CR 100 in Nunn.

The project cost about $20 million and was partially funded through FASTER (Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery) funds, which are dedicated to projects that will improve safety or replace structurally deficient bridges.

Project Benefits

The project created a smoother ride for motorists and improved sight distance, thanks to the addition of shoulders to the highway, as well as the highway realignment. The addition of rumble strips along the centerline helps enhance the safety of the highway.

Drainage improvements will help accommodate flood flows of nearby water sources, and the installation of new snow gates allows CDOT crews to more safely close the highway during the winter when inclement weather is present.

The addition of a new weather station with roadway sensors in the highway allows CDOT maintenance crews to detect road conditions on the highway in order to determine plowing and de-icing activities during storms. These forecasting tools will help save money and will also help crews create customized, real-time plans for clearing the highway of snow and ice in order to keep the road open, and safe, for motorists.