GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The Colorado Department of Transportation identified six locations in Eagle County and eight in Garfield County needing safety improvements for county roads through Cottonwood Pass.

Elise Thatcher, CDOT’s Northwestern Colorado Communication Manager, tells WesternSlopeNow that when I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is closed, they’ve noticed a dramatic increase in local traffic through Cottonwood Pass.

Cottonwood Pass is a crucial travel route for residents who must safely travel between Gypsum along Colorado Highway 82 to Carbondale in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The improvements include smoothing curves, widening areas where there is a history of sideswipes, and improving sight distance. However, CDOT hasn’t secured funding for these improvements yet.

Thatcher tells WesternSlopeNow that CDOT will need grant funding to make the improvements. CDOT applied for a federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant in February. If they receive the $3.5 million grant, CDOT will start the Cottonwood Pass project. It’s a project they hope to start in 2024.