Blue Valley Ranch, the large Colorado ranch and conservation project owned by Connecticut-based billionaire hedge fund manager Paul T. Jones III, has made a matching grant of $4 million to a project that will build five wildlife overpasses and two underpasses along an 11-mile stretch of Highway 9, which runs North to South through Grand County and Summit County. The area is a heavily-used wildlife corridor, and from 1993 to 2012, 590 accidents were caused by animal collisions along the 11 miles being considered for the project, including 16 human deaths. It's particularly bad in the winter, when the primary winter range for most animals sits on the East side of the highway while their only water source sits to the West of it. The project would also build 8-foot high wildlife fencing in between the under and overpasses, build bike lanes along each side, and make other mandated road improvements.
The county is trying to get 20% of the project's total cost - estimated at $46 million - funded by May 1st, which is the deadline for applications to the Colorado Department of Transportation to fast-track state-wide road projects. $4.3 million is still needed for make it to the necessary $9 million mark. Jones had already contributed $900,000 previously.
· Billionaire bankrolls Highway 9 improvements [Summit Daily News]
· Citizens for a Safe Highway 9 and a Matching Grant [Blue Valley Ranch]