EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The Colorado Department of Transportation has officially started a six-month, $12 million project to repave 8 miles of U.S. 24 in El Paso County.
As KRDO NewsChannel 13 previously reported, the project will resurface the busy, pothole-filled stretch of highway from Eighth Street in west Colorado Springs through Manitou Springs.
At a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, CDOT officials said that the bridge on 31st Street, which originally was not among four bridges to be upgraded in the project, will now be included.
Most of the work will be done on weeknights to limit traffic impacts. Other aspects of the project will continue into next year.
While the project is a welcome one to many drivers, they wonder about other roads that are as bad as, or worse than, the road in the current project.
One commonly criticized road is Serpentine Drive -- a steep, winding road on the west end of Manitou Springs. The upper section belongs to the CDOT and the agency plans to conduct some repair work there later this year.
Another area that draws complaints is the north end of Marksheffel Road, on the city's eastern border, where the road narrows from four lanes to two and is deteriorating. But the city has no plans for improvements there.
Many drivers want to see more work on U.S. 24, particularly on the east side of the Martin Luther King Jr. bypass and continuing east on Fountain Boulevard to the Powers Boulevard intersection.
On Monday, the CDOT was repaving a section of the highway near Peterson Air Force Base, an area that has needed numerous pothole repairs.
CDOT Supervisor Brad Bauer disputes accusations from some drivers that the agency uses substandard materials and doesn't keep enough detailed information on potholes.
"We use the best materials we can get, the same that are widely used throughout the industry," he said. "With our weather and climate, I don't know what else we can get that works better. As for tracking pothole data, we don't do anything that indicates how many times we've filled a pothole. But our crews know."
Bauer said the CDOT's annual maintenance budget for El Paso County is around $6 million.
"But half of that is for snow removal," he said. "That doesn't leave much left over."