USDA Forest Service
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests
2250 Highway 50, Delta, CO 81416-2485
Contact(s): Lee Ann Loupe, Public Affairs Officer, 970.874.6717
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The State Highway 149 Project involves approximately 330 acres between Spring Creek Pass and the town of Lake City. Treatment will consist of removing dead/dying Engelmann spruce surrounding the highway to improve safety for travelers and create an effective firebreak. Merchantable timber will be removed from the site and non-merchantable trees and debris will be piled accordingly to allow for future pile burning. These piles are not available to fuelwood cutters due to concerns about access and public safety and the contractor has specific requirements for constructing the piles to receive payment. Eleven temporary accesses will be created off of Highway 149 to allow contractors to access the area and remove materials. These accesses will be closed and obliterated after the contractor’s work is completed.
It is important for travelers to know that work along the highway is anticipated to begin on or around June 1 (depending upon final approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation and ground conditions). While work is occurring on the accesses and while trees that may affect the highway are being felled, traffic on Highway 149 in both directions will be stopped. The public should anticipate delays up to 20 minutes in their travels and plan accordingly. While the Forest Service and its contractors plan to work as diligently as possible to complete this project in a timely manner, work may continue through the end of 2016 or later.
The Forest Service apologizes for any inconvenience this may provide to citizens. However, the large amount of dead and dying spruce pose travel hazards along the highway and in recreation areas requiring treatment for public health and safety. The Forest Service has worked closely with the Hinsdale County Board of County Commissioners and the Colorado Department of Transportation to implement these projects.