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Billionaire helps get Colorado highway project off the ground

8:58 PM, Apr 24, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND COUNTY - One of the richest men in America is donating millions of dollars to help improve a vital piece of roadway between Summit and Grand Counties.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul T. Jones II announced this week he will give $4 million to make State Highway 9 safer.

Grand County Commissioner Gary Bumgarner says it's the largest personal donation the Colorado Department of Transportation has ever received to fix a roadway.

"Approximately 3,500 people travel that road everyday," Bumgarner said.

The project will help expand the roadway by a few feet. It will also produce five overpasses and two under passes for wildlife to pass through.

More than 200 wildlife accidents were reported on the roadway in 2012.

"My wife has hit a deer; I've hit a deer. I don't know anyone who hasn't hit a deer who's worked on this," said Steve Scheke, who lives in the area.

Since 1993, 16 deaths have been reported on the 10-mile stretch of highway as well as 191 serious injury accidents.

Additional funding for the project is coming from CDOT as well as federal grants.

The community still has to match Jones' $4 million pledge. They're confident they'll be able to do it in less than 45 days.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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