SH 9 Colorado River South Wildlife & Safety Improvements

A Partnership Project

Photo courtesy of Blue Valley Ranch.

Project Background

State Highway (SH) 9 is a major traffic route between Kremmling and Silverthorne in Summit and Grand counties. Although the highway runs through many other counties, the narrow stretch of highway between mile marker (MM) 126 and 137, near the Green Mountain Dam Road and Colorado River Crossing, has been the site of numerous wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC). The narrow roadway bisects feeding and watering habitat frequently used by wildlife.  In addition, several human fatalities have occurred as well.

In an effort to mitigate future WVCs and to save human and animal lives, a partnership among the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Grand County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Blue Valley Ranch was forged. 

In October 2013 the State Transportation Commission selected SH 9 for $RAMP* funding to fast track the safety-improvement project (*see RAMP press release at left for details on public-private partnership funding).

The contractor on this $39.2 million project is Kirkland Construction. The project began in April 2015 and is scheduled for completion in July 2017. 

Project Overview

Safety improvements to be made to the stretch of roadway between MM 126 (at the north edge of Summit County) and MM 137 (just south of Kremmling) include minor widening (adding eight foot shoulders), improving roadway alignment to bring up to current design standards, straightening severe roadway curves, flattening steep hills to improve drivers’ sight distance, making access and intersection improvements, and implementing wildlife mitigation features such as fencing, underpasses and overpasses to allow wildlife to migrate and to reduce collisions.

Project Phases

Phase 1: April 2015 – November 2015

  • Mile Posts 131–137
  • 6 miles
  • Culvert replacement and repair
  • Highway realignment
  • Four wildlife crossings

Phase 2: April 2016 – November 2016

  • Mile Posts 126–131
  • 5 miles
  • Highway realignment
  • Three wildlife crossings

Travel Impacts

Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., both northbound and southbound traffic will be reduced down to one lane alternating traffic with 5 minute delays expected. Road surface will be extremely rough. Alternate routes are strongly advised. Some Saturdays will be needed for construction activities and some night work will be required to install overpass structures and pipes in the roadway.

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