Cars for sale, fruit stands and recreationists using the Colorado Department of Transportation pull-out at the western edge of the Valley Floor along Highway 145 near Society Turn have been prevented from further use of the space for parking. According to Lisa Schwantes, CDOT’s southwest regional communications manager for Region 5, the area is a CDOT right-of-way with the sole purpose of providing motorists an emergency pull-out area.

“The purpose of this area is for operations and safety,” Schwantes said. “CDOT crews and other agencies, like law enforcement or emergency responders, need this area to stay clear and open for their equipment and vehicles when needed. It is unsafe to have vehicles parked in this area should it be needed in an emergency situation.

“It is also an area used by commercial big rigs when or if those drivers encounter emergency situations, like overheated breaks. It is not a safe place to be, should a run-away or out-of-control semi need to use this area.”

Those needing to access the Valley Floor can park for free at the county’s new parking lot, located just past the Conoco on Society Drive. The Valley Floor can be accessed via a tunnel running beneath the highway for safety.

Schwantes stressed that CDOT reclaiming its right-of-way is a matter of safety.

“We would like to convey to the public that this is truly a safety matter,” she said. “There have been fatalities at other right-of-way locations in Colorado, where people have been victims of crashes because they were parked or standing in a shoulder area where they should not have been.”