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Cottonwood Pass project gains specifics

Locals examine the CDOT informational boards holding their recommendations and depictions of the final products
Hattison Rensberry
Locals examine the CDOT informational boards holding their recommendations and depictions of the final products

Yesterday, CDOT hosted a meeting for the updated Garfield County changes proposed for Cottonwood Pass. In contrast to the first meeting, attendees chatted openly with county and state staff and attitudes were more lighthearted than the apprehensive response last July. Here’s CDOT’s project manager Karen Berdoulay:

"Berdoulay:
 The curves along the Garfield County side don't meet driver expectations. They may be driving a certain speed and assuming that the road is designed for that speed, and then they'll come across a curve that's really tight and then they'll go off the curve or, or have a crash at that curve area. And so we're looking to improve driver expectations a little bit there where we can smooth the curves out just a little bit more so that it's not such a surprise.

Still be pretty small changes. They're really small, distinct segments. In Garfield County, there's eight different locations. We're kind of smoothing curves, realigning the turn to Catherine store roads so that most of the cars do take that direction to Highway 82. In the future, because these are such small segments where we are completing the work in these eight locations and the whole pass, we're really only improving around 14% of the total length of the pass.

And so it shouldn't change the overall character of the road. I don't think it's gonna cause drivers to wanna drive that much faster. Cause we still can't meet standards in many of the locations."

Also in attendance was Bentley Henderson, Garfield County’s Deputy Manager, fielding questions from community members and looking over the presentation boards.

"Henderson:
 I think the important thing to understand, especially with Catherine Store and Cattle Creek Road and then Cottonwood Pass ultimately, is that the decisions to do any improvements or to invest any money in those are made by the Board of County Commissioners. This is not a CDOT right of way, that's called an off system road.

That work that's being done is being supported by CDOT, this conceptual design work. But any actual improvements or any changes to the right of way are gonna be determined by the Board of County Commission."

Both officials mentioned that the pass will continue to be closed in the winter, and that they are not changing the sizes of trucks that are allowed on the road. No additional meetings for Garfield County have been scheduled at this time. Project updates, slides from the presentation, and comment submissions can be found at:
tinyurl.com/ Cottonwood Pass

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.