Green Mountain Falls Road Improvement Study Unveiled

No Paving or Capital Projects Proposed for Maintenance Overhaul

Rick Langenberg

If you live or travel in Green Mountain Falls and yearn for more paved roads to alleviate Third-World Country-like conditions in part of the community, dream on. In fact, you could be disappointed with the future transportation blueprint for GMF.

But if you are looking for an overall road map for long-term maintenance and operation improvements and details on virtually every rough gravel-way of surface you drive across and cuss at on a regular basis, you may see a glimpse of light at the end of the rocky tunnel. Or at least, there may be a plan for grappling with the continual storms that tear away at the town’s difficult and fragile road system.

That is the essence of a new  comprehensive road improvement plan project, undertaken by consultants and mostly funded by outside sources.

The new project is being done by the Colorado Springs-based Wilson & Company, and has  been heavily touted by elected leaders as a way to give the town an overall road improvement blueprint. Lousy roads have topped the complaints of local residents, with concerns mounting over the last few years. Public works crews have often faced an impossible task due to the mountain terrain and  bombardment of storms.

But as far as future capital projects, residents should not get too excited. And they may have to continually grapple with tough driveway culverts.

‘You are not going to pave these roads,” announced Andre Brackin of Wilson & Company, who has been in charge of  score of infrastructure projects over the last five-plus years, in addressing the trustees last week. “You have to plan for these to be gravel roads.”

The consultant cited a huge price tag for future paving.

As a result, he told the trustees that their study is proceeding with the question of “how to maintain this as a gravel-road system.”

That means drainage will emerge as the number one issue plaguing the town’s road system, noted Brackin. “Where does the water go? I have been saying that for years.”

More specifically, he hopes the company’s analysis of every roadway in town, capped by nearly 150 problem sections, will help train local transportation workers and members of their public works crew, which has encountered much turnover over the last decade.“They will have a blueprint,” said Brackin.  “The basic topography will never change…It is really about granite and materials.”

At last week’s trustees meeting, company officials rolled out the initial stages of their study and gave a proposed overview of their analysis of every road. They have described the study as more of a road operations and maintenance manual.  “This is not a capital improvement plan,” warned Brackin. Instead, their study will offer a detailed future plan for the best way to “repair roads on a continual basis.”

The trustees appeared satisfied with the company’s more pro-engineering and nuts and bolts approach, and asked for residents to submit questions.

No public comment, though, was permitted at last week’s transportation update, as one citizen griped about the detailed photos of their problem roads, indicating that what is missing is devising overall solutions. Mayor Todd  Dixon asked about improving driveway culverts.

Brackin responded that doing improvements on the bigger problem culverts would be explored. But he hinted that the study isn’t designed to address individual resident complaints.

Bad roads have been a sore spot with many residents. One local resident even started a petition drive last year in an attempt to address what he described as the worst road conditions in 30-plus years. Some residents have also complained about focusing on a road improvement study, as they see money needed instead for nuts and bolts improvements.

The consultant company representatives stated that they plan to make monthly presentations.

Law Enforcement Shortages

In other GMF news, Marshal Sean Goings cited the problem his agency has confronted with manpower shortages, similar to other law agencies across the country. Goings stated that the town’s search for a deputy marshal has come up empty-handed. “Everyone is short,” said the marshal.

He told the trustees that some of the forthcoming mandates, such as having body cameras for regular stops, is “no small task” for a small agency, such as GMF. As a result, he enlisted the help of several trustees in serving on necessary committees  in working on addressing these impacts. Trustees Sean Ives and Nick Donzello agreed to assist in this endeavor.

The marshal said he has tried to update the town’s ordinances and remains committed to the goals of community-oriented policing and developing workable policies for the local community.

As a result, Goings said he has tried to attend as many local events as possible.

Oddly enough, the marshal stated that illegal parking, a problem many feared from the ending of their paid-parking system, has not become that big of an issue. Instead, he cited speeding and traffic-related woes along the main roadway as a more formidable issue.