After one of the most intense winters in the last 50 years, Colorado officials have announced an additional $45 million to repair roads damaged last season.
On Friday morning, the Colorado Department of Transportation said it had received those funds from the Transportation Commission of Colorado to, first, support snow and ice removal for the rest of the season, and second, to address pavement problems caused by the severe conditions.
Last season, many roads suffered from damage worse than what's typically seen during a winter, CDOT said. Current projections estimate the 2022-2023 winter will end up being the third or fourth snowiest winter in the last 50 years. Plus, the months between October and March were some of the coldest since 2010, CDOT said.
“Colorado’s strong winter snowpack has helped grow our economy, support jobs and our world-class ski resorts but we also need to address the consequences of a challenging winter to ensure that our roads remain safe and reliable for drivers and our economy as the weather warms up," said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. "We are making it a priority to fix potholes on state roads after a tough winter."
CDOT has a base budget of $84 million for snow and ice control. That, in addition to a $12 million reserve fund, have both been exhausted.
The additional $45 million will be split into two parts: About $19.6 million will go to fund snow and ice control and $25 million will support projects to address pavement issues, including permanent repair of potholes, CDOT said.
The department is working to identify the locations for these projects.
Some of the spots that saw unusually high damage were sections of US 40, repaved portions near Vail Pass and others parts of Interstate 70. In-house maintenance operations will handle some of this work while emergency contractors will help with the rest, according to CDOT.
CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said after such a harsh winter, she wanted to thank the CDOT employees who drove almost a million miles to keep roads clear of snow.
“As we see the winter season through to its end, we are looking to quickly address road surface quality, whether it be potholes or more severe damage sustained over the winter,” she said.
Colorado's snowpack is averaging 150% of normal and winter snowfall was well above average west of the Continental Divide and on the far northeast plains, CDOT reported. Weather stations at Columbine Pass, Park Reservoir, Tower, and Wolf Creek Pass measured liquid precipitation above 40 inches since October, or roughly 400 to 600 inches of snow.