County scales back
East Fork Road plans
140 signatures against project
Express Staff Writer
County Commission unveiled scaled-back plans for a $2 million upgrade to
East Fork Road during a packed public meeting Tuesday night. But, the
plans may get even smaller before road construction starts. Or, the plans
might disappear altogether.
70 citizens showed up for the meeting, almost all of them East Fork
residents. For nearly three hours, they criticized the plans, saying a
wider road would only encourage speeding, harm the environment and harm
supported the county governmentís plans exactly as they were proposed.
deciding whether to go through with the project, the commission will spend
the next six weeks considering comments the public made last week and
earlier, Chairwoman Mary Ann Mix said.
the commission would base its decision on public sentiment alone was
three-member commission would only approve the project with a unanimous
vote, she said.
elect the three of us to be your vote," she said. "I think itís
a cop-out (for the commissioners) to say we canít decide; you
get to decide at the ballot box."
Sarah Michael indicated how she might vote if the project faces
overwhelming public opposition.
people out there donít want the road, letís save some money," she
working for the county say that the 1940s-era thoroughfare with its
abruptly rolling 22-foot-wide strip of asphalt is dangerous and that its
surface has deteriorated to the point that it can no longer be repaired.
unveiled last week would widen the asphalt to 26 feet, add a two-foot
gravel shoulder on each side and an additional eight-foot "clear
zone" on each side to allow drivers a chance to recover if they veer
off the asphalt.
four short, steep hills would be made less abrupt. But to do so,
construction crews would have to cut high up the adjacent hillside,
something residents would consider an eyesore.
would also be installed along some parts of the 1.8-mile section from the
Big Wood River to Canyon Road.
along the road would remain were they stand, but some landscaping that
residents have created in the countyís 66-foot-wide right-of-way would
be disturbed. No private property would be taken, stated Forsgren
Associates, a consulting firm working for the county.
Fork for everyone is a close thing to our hearts," said Patrick
Csizmizia, who along with several other residents collected signatures
against the proposal. "Iím totally against any type of improvement
feel the road is fine with the resurfacing and in keeping with the
original 1940s design as a county country road," the petition stated.
"The proposed changes are not safer and are being moved forward
without the approval of East Fork residents."
of East Forkís approximately 250 residents signed the petition.
residents would like the road to be repaired with little or no change to
its design. But federal funding might not be available without design
changes. And Mix has said that the countyís road budget, which pays for
road repair and snowplowing would not be able to cover the cost of a major
overhaul of the road.
and other residents were skeptical about the reason for the project. They
suggested the availability of federal money is driving the improvements.
residents had requested the improvements.
commissionís vision is not to "make it bigger and better" to
entice real-estate development, Mix said, but to maintain quality of life
for existing residents.