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Construction stopped on Camino del Rio because of COVID-19 scare

Work to resume in two weeks
Construction work on Camino del Rio came to a stop this week after a contract crew reported exposures to COVID-19. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Construction came to a halt this week on Camino del Rio in Durango in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said a contractor had two or more employees who reported positive cases of COVID-19 for themselves or exposure to positive cases of the coronavirus.

“Basically, they let us know that they were needing to shut down the project for two weeks,” said CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes.

The $5 million project includes intermittent center-lane medians from Eighth Street to 14th Street, upgrades to the traffic signal at Ninth Street and Camino del Rio and improving the HAWK crosswalk at 12th Street and Camino.

Work on the Camino del Rio project is expected to resume Sept. 7.

With the delta variant ramping up in La Plata County, San Juan Basin Public Health continues to urge residents to get vaccinated, and advises everyone to wear a mask, whether they’re vaccinated or not.

“First off, we all thank the essential road crews for their work,” said SJBPH spokesman Chandler Griffin. “We would encourage construction workers to take the same precautions that we include in our advisory to the general public. The most important thing is to be fully vaccinated. The vaccine is highly safe, and effective, especially at preventing hospitalization.”

The workers were likely following CDOT’s coronavirus safety precautions, but construction work can sometimes cause people doing the work to be in close quarters, Griffin said.

“If they’re in really close quarters, we just ask that they make sure to mask up, especially if they go into an indoor space,” he said. “Both of our counties are currently defined as high-risk for transmission by the Centers for Disease Control. We’re currently in the midst of a delta variant wave locally, as we are statewide, and across the country.”

Construction work on Camino de Rio came to a stop this week after a contract crew reported exposures to COVID-19. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

CDOT is not concerned with the project’s time frame, and believes that even with this setback, it should be finished on time.

“We always allow for emergency suspensions of the project. Whether it’s for weather, or in this case a medical need, or for a number of other reasons,” Schwantes said. “The contractor is currently working on a new schedule for us. They’re confident and we’re confident that they can complete the work on time.”

During the project’s suspension, traffic control personnel will perform daily inspections to ensure the devices within the project limits remain in place.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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