I would like to commend our Grand County Road Supervisor, Bill Jackson, on a job well done managing the health of our extensive road system in Grand County. Mr. Jackson has to make a lot of tough day-to-day decisions that people second guess, but know very little about. One of these decisions is how much work can be done in the Big Flat area.
Back four or five years ago, a major rain system in the Big Flat area washed out the Mineral Canyon Road and damaged almost all of the roads in the area. A public outcry about the lost revenue for tour companies, and the tourism industry in general, helped obtain funding from the federal government to rebuild the face of the Mineral Canyon Road to the tune of $1 million-plus. The main road from Highway 313 to the top of the canyon was also damaged and was then rebuilt by the Grand County road crews without government help. This was before “big oil,” and it put maintenance of the other roads in the area behind on repairs.
A borrow pit in the Dubinky Wells area owned by the county is used to help build up the Mineral Canyon Road as well as the Spring Canyon Road beds for good width and contour. No road base is available except from the Spanish Valley pits, so little gravel has been placed by the county on these roads.
The company that I formerly worked for was hired by a contractor to deliver hundreds of loads of gravel to the Spring Canyon Road, starting at the intersection with the Dubinky Wells Road. Trucking companies from Monticello, Moab and Green River hauled for over a month to cover the road with road base all the way to the last well site and up to, and covering, the well site pad. It’s a business decision by the contractor not to continue down the Spring Canyon Road, as it is not part of his goal. This work has to have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and not one penny was paid for by Grand County or the Grand County Transportation Special Service District (GCTSSD).
In last week’s issues of the TI and Moab Sun News, Mr. Love states that there is a shortfall of funds available for road construction in the county due to the misguided efforts of the GCTSSD. This is his opinion and not backed up by facts. The GCTSSD has spent almost $250,000 on chip seal projects this year, over $200,000 last year, and most likely will spend an equal amount next year. The GCTSSD has money set aside to cover our portion of matching funds needed to do the next section of the La Sal Mountain Loop Road, with the federal government putting in several million dollars. That next phase will likely be scheduled for 2016. The GCTSSD has also given the BLM $5,000 toward its study of rebuilding a better road up Onion Creek.
As far as the vote on Proposition 1 to raise the sales tax for pathway, roads and other transportation projects, none of that money comes to the GCTSSD unless the Grand County Council makes that decision. There is no hidden agenda to build a highway in the Book Cliffs by the Grand County Road Department or the GCTSSD. The GCTSSD would never have that kind of money for a road to be built. The GCTSSD would also not have any say as to where a potential road would be built or why.
I am not asking anyone to write letters to anybody or any paper, but if you have any concerns and want to know the true facts of how the GCTSSD works and makes decisions, please come visit our open meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at the Grand County Road shed at 6 p.m.