Letter to the Editor – RAMP and the Lamar Reliever Route

   CDOT - Colorado Department of Transportation     

SUBJECT: RAMP and the Lamar Reliever Route 

Dear Editor, 

There has been a great deal of discussion lately pertaining to what started out in the late 1990’s as the Alternate Truck Route and is now referred to as the Lamar Reliever Route or the LRR.  The concept for this route has even been discussed by some as far back as the 1970’s.  With this project there is now the potential to fund this long discussed idea through a program introduced by CDOT known as the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships or RAMP.  In recent news articles in the Prowers Journal many pieces of information have been introduced pertaining to the RAMP program and the possibility of funding the LRR.  I would like to provide some clarification to the program and how it may affect the LRR and US 287 in downtown Lamar. 

As CDOT alters its budget practices, we will be able to increase project construction by about $300 million per year over the next five years. This increase in construction activity is one-time and is from existing, already encumbered dollars, not new funding sources or new transportation revenues. While this change in fiscal management will help to fill the gap for a little while, it isn’t permanent, it isn’t new money, and it isn’t large enough to solve Colorado’s transportation needs.   

RAMP money is divided into two main categories: Asset Management and Operational Improvements ($175 Million) which is dedicated to slowing the deterioration of current roads and improving the safety of the state’s highways, bridges and tunnels.  And Transportation Partnerships ($125 Million) – dedicated to leveraging state transportation dollars by creating Public Private Partnerships with industry and Public Public Partnerships with local governments to provide improvements on corridors where partnership opportunities exist. This fund will provide an opportunity for local governments and CDOT to potentially move forward with projects that CDOT would not be able to fund alone.  The partnership portion of the program makes it possible in the case of Lamar and Prowers County for Public Public Partnerships to be a part of these projects. 

The City of Lamar and Prowers County have been involved in meetings with CDOT as to the potential to use the RAMP program to fund construction of the LRR.  With these meetings the City and County have submitted a RAMP application to CDOT for consideration of funding the LRR with RAMP dollars. Currently the Environmental Assessment or EA for this project is nearing completion.  In the coming months there will be a public hearing as the EA comes to a conclusion.  Once the EA is completed, it will clear the way for design and eventual construction of the LRR.  Also in coming weeks the process of how the City and County would provide their part of the RAMP funding will be discussed in detail so the public fully understands what the program involves. 

In recent articles information has been published regarding changes along US 287 in downtown Lamar.  What changes or improvements on US 287 may be needed will depend on whether it remains as US 287 and under CDOT’s jurisdiction or if the LRR is built. If the LRR is built then the current US 287/US 50 would become the jurisdiction of the City and County of Lamar and CDOT would take oversight and control of the new US 287/US 50 (LRR). No decisions on existing US 287/US 50 have been made with regard to medians, current access and driveways, lane widths and affects to curb side parking. No matter the outcome CDOT, the City of Lamar, and Prowers County have many challenges and decisions in the future that will require foresight and planning. In any case CDOT knows the value of transparency in working with the citizens and our planning partners and is committed to providing the best and most accurate information to everyone. 

The transportation system in the United States is the backbone to our prosperity.  And as the Ports to Plains corridor is improved both car and heavy truck traffic on US 287 will increase in the future. Quality of life, improved GDP, health and safety, and nearly all aspects of our lives are impacted and greatly enhanced by a quality transportation system.  As partners we are committed to providing the best system for the citizens of our community and state.  CDOT is excited about the chance to assist Lamar and Prowers County to meet the challenges that lie ahead.


Paul A. Westhoff, P. E.
Region 2 – Lamar Resident Engineer

2402 South Main
Lamar, Colorado  81052
(719) 336-3228
FAX – (719) 336-4101



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