Road Construction on Rim Rock Drive Completed on June 28, 2018
Completed Phase 3: Guard Rails Replaced, Signs/Delineators Installed and Addition of New Permanent Lane Markings
From May 12, 2018, to June 28, 2018, Rim Rock Drive was open, but areas remained a construction zone as United Companies completed the final tasks of the contract. The work involved replacing the guard rails, installing signs/delineators and adding permanent lane markings.
During the construction visitors experienced:
A new asphalt road surface with temporary lane markings.
A lower temporary speed limit of 20 mph. Now that the contract is finished, the speed limits returned to the previous limits.
On Monday through Friday and some Saturdays, the construction staff worked 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. To allow for the safe operation of guard rail installation equipment, the construction company closed one lane and used flaggers or pilot vehicles to escort cars through the work zones. Motorists experienced delays of up to 30 minutes.
The National Park Service highly recommended bicyclists traveling the entire 23 miles of Rim Rock Drive to start at the Fruita entrance during that time to reduce the wait time for downhill vehicles and bicycles within the flagging/pilot car operations.
The Little Park Road route was signed as an alternate route for those who wished to avoid the construction.
Tunnel dimensions may have changed slightly due to the overlay of asphalt. Until accurate measurements can be conducted, the posted tunnel heights are 16 feet above the center double yellow line and 10.6 feet above the white fog line.
The work was completed before the July 4 weekend, almost a month earlier than the contract deadline.
Completed: Phase 2 of Rim Rock Drive Repaving from March 12, 2018, through May 11, 2018
Colorado National Monument partnered with the Federal Highway Administration for work in three areas along Rim Rock Drive through July, 2018. The project was awarded to Old Castle SW Group, Inc., a local Grand Junction company.
The second phase of this multi-phased project involved repairing and resurfacing the east hill of Rim Rock Drive, from the Grand Junction entrance and through the intersection with DS Road and then following DS Road to the monument boundary.
Rim Rock Drive from just inside the east (Grand Junction) entrance to DS Road was closed March 12, 2018 through May 11, 2018, for reconstruction. The west entrance, visitor center and 18 miles of Rim Rock Drive remained open.
The road project was delayed due to weather conditions in May. The base layer of asphalt was laid and the curbing was completed during this phase.
The No Thoroughfare Canyon trail head parking and the Devils Kitchen Picnic area parking remained open with some temporary closures on mornings when the new pavement was blended into the remaining surfaces.
All visitors using the trails and picnic area on the east side were asked to follow the safety signage and directs of the construction staff.
“We realize this extensive project has been an inconvenience,” said Superintendent Ken Mabery “but the east hill has only been comprehensively addressed once in the last 40 years and we are ensuring it is done correctly.”
Old Castle SW Group, Inc completed a full depth reclamation of the original asphalt surface. The old asphalt was ground up and compressed to form the road base for the new asphalt surface. The road’s switchbacks included multiple layers of asphalt and dirt where the road had been widened in the early 1990s. These layers were also removed. The replacement of the concrete curbs and asphalt gutters along the road will ensure that water will not undermine the new road surface. The goal of everyone associated with the project was to accomplish the needed work in an efficient, high quality manner while providing for the safety of the staff, community members and visitors.
In the final phase (Phase 3) of the project covered by the contract, the guard rails throughout Rim Rock Drive were replaced.
Completed: Phase 1 of the 2018 Rim Rock Drive Road Construction between Highland View Overlook and Artists Point Overlook
The first part of the Rim Rock Drive road construction project was completed on March 9, 2018. This involved completely replacing a small portion of the road between Highland View Overlook and Artist Point Overlook. The work entailed removing the road base in a section of road that had continued to slump, creating challenging driving conditions for visitors.
Historic Guardwall Restoration
During the summers of 2016 and 2017, National Park Service staff restored the historic guardwalls along Rim Rock Drive. These guardwalls were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Work Progress Administration from the 1930s through the 1950s.
Today's staff are trained in historic masonary techniques to remove crumbling morter and rocks. To the degree possible, they saved and returned original stones to their locations. When necessary, they replaced broken rocks with new ones hand cut to fit into the hole left by the original rock. They used morter of the same consistency as the original. Over the years they found that if the morter was too hard it caused additional weathering of the sandstone rocks.
In areas where work was being done, vehicles were limited to one lane with flaggers directing traffic.
2017 Repairs to Rim Rock Drive
Colorado National Monument is partnering with the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration to repair sections of Rim Rock Drive. Below is a sampling of the work they are doing or have done.
South of Grand View
The work in this area included repairs and stabilization to a bedrock culvert and the rock face below the roadway. Work was completed from April 26 through May 12. GCS,LLC from Grand Junction completed the work.
The road and the bedrock culverts were installed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It is critical to keep water from rain and snow moving effectively under the road without eroding it, due to the soft sandstone surroundings.