Parachute, Colo. (AP) Williams Highlands unit expects to save up to $70 million with a new road and tunnel two miles north of Parachute.
The tunnel is 3,200 feet long and will help save six hours in driving. The project costs $20 million.
Company spokesman Blake Roush said that crews now have to leave Williams' Parachute office and head up Interstate 70 to Rifle, then up Highway 13 to the Piceance Creek Road and down Cow Creek to the Rim Road that follows the edge of the Bookcliffs, a trip of about 90 miles one way.
The new private road winds up in a series of four switchbacks, rising 2,400 feet, and enters the tunnel at about 8,000 feet in elevation. From the top, there's a sweeping view of the top of the Roan Plateau to the north and Battlement Mesa to the south.
Both tunnel and road were constructed by Peter Kiewit Sons with excavation breaking through the far side of Allen Point on March 5th.