Cottonwood Pass a dangerous answer to road woes

I am one of the not insignificant number of individuals who work and live in two different counties. I am calling upon city and town board members, the county commissioners of Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin, our state representatives, and Gov. Jared Polis to improve the conditions and safety measures on both Cottonwood Pass and in the Glenwood Canyon throughway.

Whether it’s boulders through roadways, wildfires, or now mudslides, the closures of the Interstate 70 corridor and rerouting onto Cottonwood pass has become routine. While I commend the county employees, sheriff and other law enforcement agencies in regulating access to Cottonwood Pass, that stretch of weathered tarmac and packed dirt is ill-prepared and ill-equipped to handle the onslaught of weekend warriors and tourists dead set on avoiding the four- to five-hour reroutes.

It is disheartening to see that we have become so well versed in road closures to prevent inundating our small towns with a flood of stranded individuals that we are leaving locals helpless, mere minutes from their homes.

The frequency of these disasters is increasing, and I encourage my fellow residents to attend your next town council meeting and contact your representatives to have their voices heard. I know that this topic is discussed annually in recent years, and I can only imagine what a final bill on a project like this would look like, but when I am just trying to get to work in the mornings or get home in the evenings and every other car I am passing on Cottonwood Pass has an out-of-state license plate, I have to ask, when will an inevitable death and the millions of dollars of delayed commerce not be justification enough to remedy this situation?

What was a sleepy farm road, only known to longtime locals and area ranchers, has new become a treacherous byway. Our roadways are the lifeblood of our communities; we need our elected officials to take action to keep our roads safe, our communities running and to stop stranding our locals.

Matt Koch