Report findings show need for road, bridge fixes in Northern Colorado

Driving on roads in Northern Colorado costs the average driver $1,396 per year in extra vehicle operating costs, according to a report released Wednesday by TRIP, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C.

The costs, according to the report, are a result of roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor.

TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction, labor unions and organizations concerned with an efficient and safe surface transportation network that promotes economic development and quality of life.

The TRIP report claims that 52 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Northern Colorado urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. It also claims that 7 percent of bridges are structurally deficient in the Northern Colorado urban area.

The report adds fuel to pleas being made by groups urging the Colorado Legislature to make up a $9 billion gap in transportation funding.

“This report underscores that our state must act to solve Colorado’s transportation challenges,” said David May, president and chief executive of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. “Residents and businesses need a reliable, efficient transportation system. Our economy depends on it, as does our basic quality of life. In addition to commuter frustration, there are real costs associated with congestion. We need to stop kicking the proverbial can down our deteriorating roads.”

Traffic congestion in the Northern Colorado area creates 17 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver $381 annually in lost time and wasted fuel, according to the report.

Rich Werner, president and CEO of Upstate Colorado Economic Development, said congestion costs the business community production time and money, and hits the consumer in the wallet.

Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, said these road conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the state and local levels of government.

“Without adequate funding, Colorado’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and quality of life of the state’s residents.”