It helps to know people with money.
State Highway 9 in Colorado will receive much needed improvements behind a $46 million project that recently received a $4 million matching grant from the owner of Blue Valley Ranch. Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Jones II already put up $945,000 to help get the project going, and his latest and biggest donation was announced during the Grand County Board of Commissioners meeting on April 24.
The next step is to qualify the project for the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) program, which helps expedite road improvements in the state. Local governments must raise 20% of the total cost for the acceleration, and after the contribution from Blue Valley Ranch, $4.3 million is needed to meet that goal. Citizens for a Safe Highway 9 Committee will assist Grand County commissioners in raising the remaining funds.
“We all know how dangerous it is to drive Highway 9,” Mike Ritschard, who heads the Citizens for a Safe Highway 9 Committee, told the Sky Hi Daily News. “Too many of us have lost loved ones or seen them injured in accidents involving wildlife on that highway.”
The Highway 9 project will consist of the construction of five wildlife underpasses and two overpasses, as well as an 8-ft fencing along right-of-ways. The road also will be widened to meet state standards and vertical and horizontal alignments needed for the 65-mph design speed.