Index: Community Development / Subcategory: Growth

Miles of Road

Date updated: 10/02/2012

To meet reporting requirements of the Highway User Tax Fund (HUTF), Colorado cities and counties must submit information annually about all streets and roads that are open, used, and maintained. These roadway statistics are compiled annually by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Larimer County Public Works is responsible for the County's $400 million asset, its roads, and has developed a report card to measure their status in key areas. The report card tries to address the top three citizen questions:

A current grade for the network of roads is accessible at Transportation Report Card.

What this chart shows: Miles of County Road within Larimer County (excludes City/Town mileage), 2011

Data Source: Colorado Department of Transportation - Roadway Statistics

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The roads maintained by Larimer County are 54% non-paved, gravel surface and 46% paved, concrete or asphalt surface. The decision to upgrade a gravel surface road is not a simple one. Many factors are involved in this process which includes annual maintenance, public safety, volume of vehicles and the increasing cost of asphalt and concrete products. The factors that impact cost of converting a gravel road to asphalt are total width including shoulders, thickness of asphalt, usually 4 inches minimum up to 7 inches depending on traffic volume and weight, and associated rework, such as culverts, base replacement, and alignment changes.

According to Larimer County Road and Bridge, the major economic factor escalating costs is diesel fuel prices associated with the equipment necessary to do the work. The asphalt industry estimator examples under Additional Information depict the cost per mile in 2011 dollars for several example roads.

According to Appendix D [pdf] of the Kentucky Transportation study 'When to Pave a Gravel Road', paving is a matter of tradeoffs. Paving gravel roads eliminates dust, is usually smoother, and accommodates vehicles such as tractors and trailers that do not operate well on gravel roads. However, the study states that in spite of the benefits of paving, a well-maintained gravel road can still accommodate traffic and may be cheaper and easier to maintain and can service the public for many years.

What this chart shows: Total Lane Miles in Larger Larimer County Municipalities, 2002-2011

Data Source: Colorado Department of Transportation - Roadway Statistics, 2002-2011

See data table

What this chart shows: Total Lane Miles in Smaller Larimer County Municipalities, 2002-2011

Data Source: Colorado Department of Transportation - Roadway Statistics, 2002-2011

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Of Larimer County's municipalities, Fort Collins contained the most lane miles during the last ten years, whereas Estes Park had the lowest percentage increase in lane miles (9.3%). The smaller municipalities had the largest percentage gains during these ten years, with Timnath roads increasing 1,652.7% or 60.2 miles, and Wellington roads increasing 110.1% or 41.0 miles.

NOTE: Highways can be measured in centerline miles or in lane miles. A centerline mile measures the length of a highway and does not take the number of lanes into account. A lane mile is specific measure of highway length: one lane mile is one mile of highway that is one lane wide; a two lane highway of one centerline mile in length would have two lane miles.

What this chart shows: Miles of Road versus Vehicle Registration - Fort Collins & Loveland 2002-2011

Data Source:

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Between 2002 and 2011, the number of road miles (centerline) and the number of vehicles registered in Fort Collins and Loveland have generally increased. In Fort Collins the number of registered vehicles increased 13.7% whereas the miles of road increased 16.7%. In Loveland, the number of registered vehicles increased by 24.4%, versus a 20.5% increase in the number of miles of road.

Additional Information:

The following graph depicts the cost differential in delaying road repairs. For example, if a road is allowed to deteriorate to poor condition, it will cost 4-5 times more to bring it back to acceptable conditions.

The following graph depicts the cost differential in delaying road repairs. For example, if a road is allowed to deteriorate to poor condition, it will cost 4-5 times more to bring it back to acceptable conditions.

The examples below depict the cost per mile in 2011 dollars for several example roads. Estimates were provided by the Larimer County Road & Bridge Department.

One Mile of Road with 'X' Width

Tons of material per mile

2011 estimated price per ton

Cost for paving one mile

Other Incidental Costs (Patching, Milling, etc.)

Total estimated cost per mile

Maintenance overlay of 24' wide road with two 2' wide paved shoulders (4' thick)

3,650 $50 $182,500 $55,000 $237,500

Maintenance overlay of 24' wide road with two 8' wide paved shoulders (4' thick)

5,215 $50 $260,750 $80,000 $340,750

One Mile of Road with 'X' Width

Tons of material per mile

2011 estimated price per ton

Cost for paving one mile

Other Major Expenses (Cut/Fill, Drainage, etc.)

Total estimated cost per mile

Rural road construction/ reconstruction (5' thick) including horizontal and vertical realignment

6,519 $50.00 $325,950 $350,000 $675,950

Urban road construction/ reconstruction (7' thick) including horizontal and vertical realignment, curb, gutter, and sidewalk

9,126 $50.00 $456,300 $825,000 $1,281,300

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Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Industry Standards or Targets:

N/A

Data Tables:

Miles of County Road within Larimer County

Year

Paved Miles

Non-paved Miles

Total Miles

% Paved Miles

% Non-paved Miles

2002

478 588 1,066 45% 55%

2003

480 582 1,062 45% 55%

2004

480 583 1,063 45% 55%

2005

475 580 1,055 45% 55%

2006

473 577 1,051 45% 55%

2007

470 575 1,045 45% 55%

2008

467 573 1,040 45% 55%

2009

455 572 1,027 44% 56%

2010

486

590

1,076 45% 55%

2011

491 587 1,078 46% 54%

See chart

Total Lane Miles in Larimer County by Municipality

Berthoud

Estes Park

Fort Collins

Loveland

Timnath

Wellington

2002

58.0

105.0

997.0

576.0

3.6

39.0

2003

61.8

105.7

1,017.0

606.3

3.6

54.7

2004

61.8

105.7

1,029.7

625.6

18.0

61.4

2005

66.6

107.2

1,057.4

645.7

32.9

64.8

2006

69.1

108.4

1,071.8

655.2

38.6

77.8

2007

88.3

108.5

1,087.9

680.6

55.0

77.8

2008

88.3

108.0

1,096.2

700.4

63.8

77.9

2009

88.3

109.2

1,170.8

701.7

63.4

77.9

2010

89.3

109.2

1,171.4

702.4

63.8

78.3

2011

90.0

109.2

1,172.8

4703.7

67.7

78.3

See chart - Total Lane Miles in Larger Larimer County Municipalities

Total Lane Miles in Smaller Larimer County Municipalities

Miles of Road (Centerline) versus Vehicles Registered

 

Fort Collins

Loveland

Centerline Miles of Road

Vehicles Registered

Centerline Miles of Road

Vehicles Registered

2002

463.0 97,989 273.0 54,959

2003

471.5 97,362 289.4 56,008

2004

475.7 99,825 298.0 58,064

2005

485.4 101,118 305.6 60,574

2006

492.2 99,544 310.3 60,464

2007

500.3 110,592 321.3 68,208

2008

502.4 111,744 327.4 69,248

2009

539.2 112,781 328.0 70,711

2010

539.6 114,629 328.4 70,845

2011

540.2 111,390 329.0 68,356

See chart