OURAY COUNTY BRIEFS
County Faces Higher Winter Road Maintenance Costs
by Gus Jarvis
Apr 29, 2010 | 1584 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RIDGWAY – During the winter months, the Ouray County Road and Bridge Department relies on cinders hauled in from Nucla to treat the county’s 18 miles of paved roads. But that cinder supply is dwindling, estimated to last another 7-10 years, and as a result, the county may be forced to use more expensive methods to maintain its roads during the snow and ice season.

According to Road and Bridge Superintendent Chris Miller, the county hauls cinders for approximately of $30,550 a year. (There is no cost for the cinders – derived from processing coal; the figure represents fuel, labor and vehicle maintenance costs for hauling it to Ouray from Nucla.) Miller told the commissioners that while nobody knows exactly when the Nucla cinder supply will run out, the department’s best estimate puts it somewhere between seven and 10 years. When that happens, the county will be forced to find another winter road treatment product.

After doing some research, Miller said the county could go with a salt/sand mixture hauled in from Montrose for an estimated cost of $83,250 a year. Miller added that if a salt/sand mixture is used, a new storage facility would also be required, which would bring the initial cost up to an estimated $153,000.

Alternatively, if the county were to go with magnesium chloride, it would require the up-front purchase of a combination unit to be placed on a snowplow at a cost of $100,000, plus another $25,000 for a year’s supply of magnesium chloride.

Miller said the county’s Road and Bridge Committee will be discussing the future cost of winter road treatments at an upcoming meeting in May.

“At some stage we are not going to have cinders,” Commissioner Keith Meinert said. “Regardless of how this comes out, we are going to be faced with higher costs for road maintenance.”

No formal decision on the matter was made by the Ouray Board of County Commissioners at Monday’s meeting.

County Pledges Support for 3/50 Project After a presentation by Ridgway business owner Ed Folga on the importance of shopping locally, the Ouray County Commissioners agreed to draft and approve a proclamation in support of the 3/50 Project, a national shop-local campaign that is being promoted by local business owners in both Ouray and Ridgway.

Folga, who owns Willowcreek Floral and Willowcreek Crossing in Ridgway, has been attending a slew of public meetings to garner local governments’ support for the 3/50 Project, which asks residents to pick three independently-owned businesses where they will spend at least $50 a month.

“This is a national program to try and save small businesses throughout the country,” Folga told the commissioners, adding that a big part of the campaign will be discovering what services Ouray County businesses have to offer. “The biggest thing is to educate people what we have in this county. We realized as a business group that we haven’t done a good enough job to let you, as citizens, know what we have. People go to Montrose for things that they could get here,” and often at the same price.

“There are things I now know that I didn’t know about two weeks ago,” Folga said. “I know for a fact that I can buy ink cartridges here just as cheap as I can at a Office Depot. We are going to go through each business in the county and produce a directory of what we have here.”

While both the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce support the 3/50 Project, Folga said the initiative is being spearheaded by a group of local business owners.

“We are not asking that you buy everything here, just saying ‘give us a shot,’” Folga said. “Basically it’s a group of business people saying enough is enough.”

All three commissioners agreed to support the initiative and said they would make a supportive proclamation at an upcoming meeting.
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