Garfield County has spent $3.8 million of a $7 million grant from the Utah Community Impact Board on the Burr Trail, which County Commissioner Tom Hatch says was used in upgrading a "vital link" between the eastern boundary of the county and the town of Boulder.

He said another $1 million from the CIB grant has been budgeted by commissioners this year.Construction on a 14-mile section of the road from Boulder to Capitol Reef National Park should be completed by June and is now progressing in the "Gulch" area. The work is slightly behind schedule because of the slow and tedious blasting that is required. The Harper Construction Co. has the construction contract.

A completed section has been tested for durability by gravel trucks hauling heavy loads daily over the surface. The road has a gravel base with an enzyme overlay and a double chip seal, but does not have an asphalt hard surface. The commissioner said county officials approved the enzyme surface after studying roads in Emery County that accommodate transportation of heavy loads of coal. It was concluded the enzyme surface would provide good durability at lesser costs than conventional methods of surfacing.

Vandalism, protecting the environment, environmental assessments and litigation by environmental interests that have attempted to stop the construction have cost a lot of money. But Garfield County is "out of the courts" for the first since the Burr Trail issue developed several years ago, Hatch said.

Out of the $3.8 million spent on the Burr Trail, damage to equipment because of vandalism cost $91,337. An expense of $61,623 is related to protecting archeological sites. Environmental assessments cost taxpayers another $55,844.

Hatch said he is not aware of any motions now pending in the courts that would hamper continuing work on the 66 miles of road between Boulder and Ticaboo near Lake Powell.