Rep. Boebert introduces ‘I-70 Detour Act’: A bill to conduct alternate routes through Glenwood Canyon
The bill looks at introducing efficient alternate routes along the Glenwood Canyon I-70 corridor.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Representative Lauren Boebert introduced a bill called the ‘I-70 Detour Act’ a couple of weeks ago. The bill looks at introducing efficient alternate routes along the Glenwood Canyon I-70 corridor.
“The I-70 detour act is a locally driven solution to ensure commerce, tourism and the west slope don’t come to a screeching halt the next time a natural disaster or major traffic accident closes I-70 for an extended period of time,” said Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.
On April 13, the Mesa County Commissioners wrote Congresswoman Boebert a letter of support for her bill. The letter of support said, “To require the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on the significant improvements and potential alternatives necessary to offset extended closures associated with Interstate Route 70, and for other purposes.”
”The bill asks for a study and that’s to study the transportation through Colorado via I-70 and potentially adding some redundancies to that system,” said Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis. “Everybody remembers the fires of 2021 and the mudslides and how it shut down I-70 for weeks on end up to I believe a month before they opened it up. There was tens of millions of dollars that was spent to clear that road. But more than that, the unseen costs are the costs to our local hotels that saw vacancy rates of up to 50%, our local wineries and recreation venues. So it impacted us greatly when that I-70 was shut down.”
Commissioner Davis said a lot of people who live in Denver come to western Colorado for weekends or sporting events and were unable to do so during that time. He said it took a huge economic toll on Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade. It also added to supply chain problems.
“We get a lot of our supplies from Denver as well,” said Davis. “People don’t realize that we get more from Denver than we do from Salt Lake. Food supplies, energy supplies, so its not only economic, but also health, safety, and wellness.”
Driving through Steamboat or Gunnison, the current alternate routes, adds hours of time on the trip. So this study would look at adding alternate paths that would just add 10 to 15 minutes to the I-70 route if Glenwood Canyon closes again.
The alternate route would most likely be a state highway or a county road. The study is going to look at how this route would impact the community in this area, the farmers and also wildlife migratory patterns.
“One of the most important parts of my bill are the fast track provisions that ensure the final recommendations made by the Department of Transportation will be authorized and funded in an expedited manner,” said Boebert.
As far as the next steps, this legislation needs to go through committee and come to the house floor for a vote.
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