Repairs to 38 Road stirs up debate

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GRAND JUNCTION,Colo. The debate over who should be paying for repairs to 38 road continues to heat up.

The local agriculture community thinks the county should be the one to pay for all of the repairs, and many mesa county residents say local business owners are the ones that need to fix the Fruit and Wine Byway.

Several years ago local business owners came to the county commissioners asking for repairs to be made to 38 road which is also known as the fruit and wine byway but were turned down after commissioners said it was the responsibility of the local agriculture community to pay for the repairs.

The Fruit and Wine Byway is now being referred to as bloody hill according to Julianne Adams from the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, she said the narrow winding road has a 14% grade and has been the cause of many accidents.

“This is a county road, it’s a road that's not just for business owners it's also the residents that live up here,” said Adams.

But former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland said this is exactly what the county warned the business owners about before 38 road became known as the Fruit and Wine Byway.

"Several years ago when county commissioners were asked to designate this roadway as the fruit and wine byway we declined for this very reason that there was already problems with safety for the roads, We knew this would only increase those problems we were very clear at the time that if they went ahead and did this on their own that they shouldn't come to the county and ask us to foot the bill for increased traffic and problems that they created," said Rowland.

The current County Commissioners have approved a $1.9 Million budget to begin construction on the roadway.

They expect to have a contract bid to the Commissioners for approval by October 2014, and then construction on the road should begin shortly after that.

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