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El Paso County starts to spend nearly $23 million for much-needed road improvements

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Tuesday, a year after the deteriorating conditions of county roads were revealed, the Board of Commissioners approved allocating significant additional funding to begin making repairs.

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The county will spend $13.2 million from its general fund budget, and $9.5 million in federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act, for a total of $22.7 million.

Officials have comprised a priority list of 31 roads that will be repaved or rebuilt; at least one unpaved gravel road -- Old Stage Road -- will be improved, as well.

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Contractors hired by the county to perform the work are expected to start in a few weeks, with a goal of finishing the priority list in 90 days.

Last year, a study by the county's public works department found that two-thirds of roads were in bad condition or worse, and the county is "hundreds of millions of dollars" behind in road maintenance, as board chairman Stan VanderWerf said at the time.

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"We've had a certain amount of success with getting more funding for projects," he said. "But there's still a lot to do on those roads."

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Jack Ladley, the county's deputy director of public works, admits that finishing on schedule will be a challenge, given how late in the road construction season it is now.

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"We had some things that we were up against, making sure that we identified the roadways we need to improve," he said. "That was a real balancing act. And making sure that our contractors were available and have the materials that we need."

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According to the list, the roads to be repaved (old pavement removed and replaced with fresh asphalt) are: Walker Road, Fairplay Drive, Black Forest Road (between Hodgen Road/Terra Ridge Circle and between Walker/Hodgen roads), Burgess Road, East Galley Road, Grinnell Boulevard, Judge Orr Road, North Meridian Road, Lake Woodmoor Drive, Bradley Road, Fontaine Boulevard (between Security Boulevard/Amherst Street and between Powers Boulevard/Fountain Circle), Fountain Avenue, Conrad Street, Falcon Highway, Gleneagle Drive, Stapleton Drive, Murphy Road, Calhan Highway, Furrow Road, Rio Road, Rio Lane, Ermel Road, Woodmen Hills Drive, Winchester Road and Defoe Avenue.

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Roads to be completely reconstructed are: Chipita Park Road, Jessie Drive and Steppler Road.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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