The SH 13 Rio Blanco Hill project is similar and quite different from the previous projects completed by IHC Scott. The project sits right in the middle of a main connection between I-70 and I-80 on the Western Slope; it’s a rural highway, but it has heavy traffic on a narrow two-lane road approaching Rio Blanco Hill from the south and dropping down into Garfield County from the north.

CDOT data shows this highway has a history of the most animal/ vehicle incidents in the state. One of the safety improvements is to install 36,000 or 7 miles of 8-foot-tall linear feet of deer fence to keep wildlife off the road. In addition to the deer fence, we have 14 game ramps to build so the deer and elk and other wandering breeds can escape the roadway safely.

We also have over 200,000 CY of embankment to perform, of which about 150,000 CY must be imported from off-site to complete the new roadway alignment and grade.

For the past several years, either fires or mudslides have caused closures along I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. When these closures occur, the detour routes all traffic to SH 13. This almost absolute occurrence is a huge part of the planning that goes into SH 13 construction. We have a Canyon Closure Action Plan which includes a backup plan. Planning and organizing are important as actually performing the work. The plan includes incorporating many shoe-fly bypasses or temporary detours, as well as having temporary traffic signals that run all night. Finally, we hold weekly meetings to discuss over-size load restrictions and other contingency plans.

The pipe drainage work and a good portion of the embankment work will be completed in 2022. With a shut-down period from November 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023, the project will be completed in 2023 with one remaining large con-arch structure, which will serve as a wildlife crossing, as well as the FDR work, roadway mitigation efforts, import of multiple layers of varying base courses, and roadway paving, guardrails, striping/signage and final stabilization.