Eagle County Commissioners joined Garfield County for a discussion regarding Cottonwood Pass

Stephanie Graham

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EAGLE COUNTY, CO - On Tuesday, August 10, the Eagle County Board of Commissioners joined Garfield County in two discussions regarding Cottonwood Pass.

Cottonwood Pass is a country road - partially dirt and partially paved - that spans from Eagle to Garfield County, as it connects the Eagle River Valley to the Roaring Fork Valley. The county leaders discussed the future of Cottonwood Pass and the appropriate response to I-70 closures.

Based on the discussions, it is decided that the Cottonwood Pass will be widened to increase the line of sight for drivers. The project is estimated to cost around $10-15 million, with and/or federal funds that might be required for significant projects. One of the projects, Blue Hill, aims to allow the pass to turn into a year-round road. Although, it will not serve as a permanent alternative route to I-70.

The project team will consider the wildlife concerns. Also, communications with local organizations, affected counties, and first responders are a necessity. In the future, discussions will continue regarding traffic management at entry and exit points.

"Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)’s statement that it will be days, not weeks until I-70 could be reopened is amazing to hear. Clearly, reopening the highway would provide the most immediate relief to this situation," said Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney. Commissioner McQueeney also added the importance of this project, as many constituents depend on this county road to support their livelihoods.

Eagle County Board of Commissioners expressed their gratitude to Garfield County for the offer of partnership. "There are many factors at play in improving the road, but if we can do it in an environmentally responsible way to keep this emergency lifeline open, we will endorse that,” added Commissioner McQueeney.

Currently, the Board of Commissioners is awaiting the federal fund, which had been released to address the closure of I-70. As soon as they receive the funding, the upgrade process will be immediate.

Read more about this discussion and Cottonwood Pass here.

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