A major traffic artery linking the city of Durango with several outlying subdivisions in northeast La Plata County will be closed for about three weeks beginning Wednesday for a bridge deck replacement.
The road project will require a significant detour for hundreds of residents who commute daily or near-daily on Florida Road (County Road 240) for work and city services.
The bridge deck replacement is scheduled to begin Wednesday and run through June 16 in the 8000 block of Florida Road, which is about 6 miles northeast of city limits and a half mile northeast of County Road 248. It will impact residents who live in Los Ranchitos, Aspen Trails and Tween Lakes subdivisions, among others.
The county has identified detours via county roads 245, 501 and 502. The route drivers take will depend in part on where they live.
And, the length of the detour will vary based on where residents live. A trip from Helen’s Corner to south City Market in Durango, a 13.2 mile trip via Florida Road, usually takes 19 minutes. But that will increase to 32.6 miles and 44 minutes via the detour.
Based on 2022 data, the county estimates about 3,600 daily trips will be disrupted by the road closure.
John Debbink, a resident of Aspen Trials subdivision, estimates the road closure will add 45 minutes to his near-daily commute to Durango.
“If it creates safer road conditions, the disruption is OK,” he said. “It had to happen at some point.”
The timing of the repair was determined with “several priorities in mind,” including avoiding school bus schedules, holiday weekends and the peak of monsoons, said county spokesman Ted Holteen.
“The project will require the complete removal of the existing bridge deck structure, which was constructed in 1982, so a single lane pass-through is not possible and both lanes of traffic will be closed,” the county said in a news release. “... We understand the inconvenience that this detour will cause for area residents and will work to finish the project as quickly as possible.”
The bridge construction is a part of a two bridge deck replacement, which La Plata County contracted for the year. The first replacement, which took place on County Road 245, was completed about a week faster than anticipated and under budget.
The Florida Road bridge deck replacement is anticipated to cost $464,703.
The actual construction time will be somewhat contingent on weather conditions and schedules of the workers.