Residents sue Elbert County over road

Commissioners rebut claims of dangerous conditions after amendment approval

Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 7/11/21

Four local residents who live near the Spring Valley Ranch community have filed a lawsuit in Elbert County District Court regarding the conditions of the County Road 178 extension. The lawsuit is …

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Residents sue Elbert County over road

Commissioners rebut claims of dangerous conditions after amendment approval

Posted

Four local residents who live near the Spring Valley Ranch community have filed a lawsuit in Elbert County District Court regarding the conditions of the County Road 178 extension.

The lawsuit is part of a long-fought battle by community members who are dissatisfied with Elbert County leadership and the developer of Spring Valley Ranch over the project’s roads.

In a February article, the Elbert County News reported that “after hearing four hours of testimony from developer Jim Marshall and concerned citizens, the Elbert County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 10 to approve changes to developer Jim Marshall’s Spring Valley Ranch development guide agreement.”

The approved amendments to the original 2006 agreement impact the overall design of the road.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that the amended design for the road is inconsistent with county regulations and traffic laws, making the road extremely unsafe for drivers.

The plaintiffs demand the following issues be resolved:

1. Posted speed and design speed

2. Intersection spacing

3. Acceleration and deceleration lanes

4. Entering sight distance

5. Decision sight distance

6. Shoulder widths and surface

7. Shoulder slope

8. Culvert size

9. Traffic analysis report

In an interview with Christopher Hatton, one of the plaintiffs in the case directly impacted by the road development, he voiced his concerns about the road’s design and construction.

“Making the changes is increasing the safety for the people using these roads,” said Hatton. “We just want the county to follow their rules.”

He continued to demand that the Elbert County commissioners require the Spring Valley Ranch developer to comply with the road laws and regulations.

“We want the commissioners to do their jobs and require the developer and the engineers to follow the laws on the books,” said Hatton. “We are really concerned and the county commissioners aren’t listening to us.”

County Commisioners Chris Richardson and Grant Thayer, however, said on July 6 that the roads are well designed.

“At this point, the process and the engineering of the roads are entirely appropriate,” said Richardson. “We will move forward with things as they unfold.”

Thayer mirrored Richardson’s stance and said that “the road has been well engineered and we’ve reviewed the plans for the road.”

The road is currently being constructed, with much of the land already cleared. Plaintiff Hatton, a geotechnical civil engineer, says that there is still plenty of time to make the necessary changes to the road to meet laws and regulations.

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