FHWA Central Federal Lands and Gunnison County Receive Statewide Quality Award

April 27, 2022

Denver, Colorado, (February 2020) – Local paving contractor United Companies, A CRH Company, the Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands, and Gunnison County have been recognized with a “Best in Colorado” Asphalt Pavement Award in the Rural Highway New or Reconstruction category for the Cottonwood Pass Project.

The Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association “Best in Colorado” Quality Awards are presented annually to recognize the quality efforts of asphalt producers, contractors, and agencies/owners in the State of Colorado.  Forty-six projects were nominated for the 2019 awards, and 13 projects were recognized as “Best in Colorado” in various categories.  Nominations are judged on overall quality and smoothness. This year the “Best in Colorado” awards program is celebrating its 26th Anniversary. The program began in 1994 with awards for each of the initial six categories.  Over the years, additional categories have been added, competition has increased from across the state, and as a result, the overall quality continues to excel.  Since the program began, over 1000 projects have been nominated for consideration resulting in 299 “Best in Colorado” awards. The awards dinner was held in conjunction with the 47th Annual Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference and Equipment Show at the Crowne Plaza – DIA on February 19, 2020.

“This award is well deserved and speaks to the commitment to quality from United Companies, A CRH Company, and the excellence in oversight and partnering with FHWA Central Federal Lands and Gunnison County,”  stated Tom Peterson, Executive Director, Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association.

This year, this is a special and unique award because the judges have awarded it 350 out of 350 points.  This is the first project in the history of this award program to achieve this high honor.

Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division, in cooperation with Gunnison County, the US Forest Service, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests, contracted with United Companies to construct improvements to 12.5 miles over Cottonwood Pass, including widening, realignment, and paving at a final cost of $20.6M.

At 12,123 feet elevation, it is now the fourth highest paved road in the United States.  Record snowfalls and extreme elevation combined to make this project uniquely challenging.  While the initially scheduled completion was for two limited construction seasons, large amounts of groundwater were encountered, and the project was completed in three seasons.

In early October, the judges visited the site to beat the snow and commented, “The judging team was unanimous in rating the entire project the highest score possible.  We had to look hard even to find one transverse joint, and they were literally non-existent.  Guest judge Dennis Donnely said it was a top-rated project he had ever seen in his career.  There are not enough good things to say about this fantastic project!”

Additional information about the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association:

The Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association (CAPA) is a not-for-profit association representing approximately 26 asphalt producers, 172 affiliate and associate member organizations, and 80 Local Agencies (municipalities).  CAPA promotes and publicizes the use of quality asphalt in Colorado and encourages fair contracting methods.  To support quality achievement in Colorado, CAPA operates the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Education Center and the Laboratory for Certified Asphalt Technicians.  CAPA is the asphalt industry voice working with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, local agencies, and others throughout the State of Colorado.  For more information, visit www.co-asphalt.com.

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