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Grant Secured to Fix Roads Impacted by Oil Drilling

Officials break ground at the intersection of CR 100 and Cap Rock Road for a Regional Road Project that will fix roads adversely affected by oil exploration south of Florence.   Shown left to right are Jimmy Zeleznikar,  Fremont County project supervisor; Tony Adamic, FCDOT Director; Gary Zak, Williamsburg mayor; Connie Higgs, Coal Creek mayor; Keith Ore, Florence mayor; Fremont County Commissioner Tim Payne; Florence City Councilman Larry Baker; Lonny Haugen, chief financial officer, Austin Exploration; Delbert Lennie, Rockvale mayor; Jim Sorensen, materials manager for Austin Exploration; Guy Goudy, chief operating officer for Austin Exploration; and Juan Carlos Carratu, VPGM of Colorado operations, Austin Exploration. (Photo Courtesy: Carie Canterbury / Daily Record)

A group of local government officials who cooperated to secure a Colorado Energy and Mineral Impact grant broke ground yesterday to signal the start of Phase 1 of a five year regional road improvement project.   Coal Creek Mayor Connie Higgs and Fremont County Department of Transportation Director Tony Adamic led the way on the project which secured a $550,000 Energy Impact Grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.   Higgs said the roads will be rebuilt to withstand the impact of heavy truck traffic from oil drilling activity south of Florence.

Fremont County, Coal Creek, Rockvale, Williamsburg, Florence, Brookside, and several oil companies have worked together for nearly a year to put together the five-year Regional Road Project.   Work on Phase 1 of the project begins this week.   Adamic said the first phase includes 7.4 miles of road reconstruction.   About four miles of the project will be asphalt and another 3.4 miles will be graveled road surface.    Adamic says the intent is to apply for a new grant each year to cover the five phases of the project.   The county’s matching contribution to the project is equipment and labor to do the work.

Austin Exploration, whose trucks have impacted many of the roads in the area, is also a partner with the county and area coal towns.   Guy Goudy, Chief Operating Officer of Austin Exploration, said the company feels it’s very important to give back to the community.   Austin is providing some matching funds to improve the thoroughfare that travels through all of the communities.