CDOT By-Passes the Lamar Reliever Route

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Concerns over the potential economic impact of a Lamar Bypass, expressed this past summer by city and county officials as well as local business owners and citizens, has become moot in light of the Lamar Reliever Route being taken off the table for funding. 

Most of the money is going to the Front Range with little, if any, coming into southeast Colorado.  Both the Prowers County Commissioners and Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, confirmed the announcement.  Paul Westhoff, CDOT resident engineer for Lamar said some aspects of RAMP funding would be discussed during the  Reliever Route’s Environmental Assessment meeting at the County Annex on Thursday evening, September 19, between 5pm and 7pm.  Westhoff said the projects chosen for funding are not entirely absolute at this time as the list of funded projects doesn’t exactly total how the funds have been allocated.  He added that the devastation to Colorado’s highways in the flood impacted zones from last week had no bearing on how the RAMP funds were allocated.  He said the repair and reconstruction work on those road and bridges will have different funding avenues. 

Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, said regardless of how the RAMP funds were allocated, there is still the problem of CDOT’s obligation to repair and maintain Main Street in Lamar.  “This is still their road, and it’s not agreeable to let it fall apart,” he stated, referring to CDOT’s devolution concept of paying a community to take ownership of a state roadway and becoming responsible for all future repairs and upgrades.  This funding source for the City of Lamar was an idea expressed as a means of Lamar paying a percentage of the RAMP funds back, to gain ownership of Highway 287/385 through the city.

RAMP, Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships, was a one-time event for highway repairs throughout Colorado.  Once the funds have been distributed for projects through 2017, there are no plans for additional funding.  Sutherland said that leaves the City of Lamar back to where it was on the Reliever Route but in the meantime, the number of heavy duty freight vehicles continues to pass through town.  He said its CDOT’s responsibility to make the highway safe and passable.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: BusinesscommunityCountyEconomyFeaturedHot TopicsLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyTourismTransportation


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