Pikes Peak Highway could be completely paved by the end of the year, if Mother Nature cooperates.

If she doesn’t, then the city plans to complete it early in 2012.

That would complete the project a year earlier than planned, and in enough time for next year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Mayor Steve Bach said finishing the project early will open the Hill Climb to a larger racing community.

“In addition, the paving is a significant marker in our progress ot complete the erosion and sedimentation control project to comply with our environmental requirements,” he said.

The city was required to pave the road as part of a 1999 settelement with the Sierra Club. That settlement requires the project to be completed by the end of 2012.

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One reason to accelerate the paving project: cheaper asphalt. It’s selling at $52 per ton, compared to $62 per ton last year.

The city’s street division will finish the paving project.