Small Towns Coping With Energy Traffic

Energy development means many things including heavy equipment and it's having repercussions on some smaller Western Slope towns. But every town is dealing with it in its own way.

Small towns from Mesa to Rio Blanco Counties have become thoroughfares for companies hauling heavy equipment to drilling sites, but the constant traffic is being noticed.

Along with road damage, some of the older buildings in Collbran, including the church and town hall, are also seeing some effects.

"We believe some buildings have suffered stress fractures from the heavy trucks going by," Collbran Mayor Frank Jones said.

According to an on-going traffic study in Collbran, 20 semi trucks an hour pass through the town and add that to hundreds of cars per hour and Jones says it's a pattern that has developed in the last year or so.

But what about solutions?

Collbran is working with energy companies to figure out a way to ease the stress on the town's roads and buildings and then there's an idea coming from the Town of Silt.

"After giving it some thought I came up with the bright idea of tollbooths," Silt Mayor Dave Moore said.

The idea has the backing of the Colorado Department of Revenue and while it still remains simply an idea, it could generate more than $2000 a day for the town.

"They tore the devil out of our roads and we just want someone to step up to the plate and help us out," Moore said.