September 25, 2022
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As part of an update to its 10-year transportation plan, the Colorado Department of Transportation is proposing to invest nearly $1 billion in rural roads as part of a long-term effort to “remake” the road network connecting smaller communities across the state.

[Above photo by Colorado DOT]

The agency noted that the first four years of its current 10-year plan allocated approximately $382 million to rural pavement condition, subsequently improving rural roads in 55 counties.

Photo by the Colorado DOT

Colorado DOT seeks to maintain that rural road improvement focus throughout the upcoming decade by investing over $940 million over the life of its updated 10-year plan.

That rural road investment boost as part of the agency’s 10-year plan is on top of an estimated $230 million spent statewide annually on road resurfacing performed through Colorado DOT’s base funding programs, including its asset management program

Shoshana Lew, executive director of Colorado DOT, said that putting additional “funds and focus” into the agency’s 10-year plan ensures that Colorado’s low volume roads get “the attention they need” to serve as quality and reliable linkages between communities.

Shoshana Lew. Photo by the Colorado DOT.

“As we traveled the state to hear from neighbors at the very beginning of the 10 year plan’s development, we heard loud and clear how important it was to reinvest in our rural roads,” she said in a statement.

“Across the state, citizens can see completed projects that together comprise record investment in rural roads, and we look forward to the continuation of this important program with the next phase of the plan,” Lew added.

She also noted that rural roads serve important statewide functions by helping agricultural and other critical goods come to market and by helping tourists and recreation travelers reach Colorado’s “special places.”

Several state departments of transportation have made various rural road investments over the course of 2022, including the Maine Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

In May 2020, a 48-page report compiled by national transportation research nonprofit TRIP indicated that America’s rural road network suffers from a $211 billion backlog in funding for needed repairs and improvements.

editor@aashto.org

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