The town of Basalt has taken a giant step toward building a pedestrian underpass of Highway 82 at Basalt Avenue after about a decade of talking.
The big break came when $800,000 became available for the project through the Colorado Department of Transportation. Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon said Glenwood Springs couldn’t proceed with a project, so it went to Basalt, which was next on a list of priorities. The grant is from the Transportation Department’s FASTER Safety Funding.
The underpass for walkers and cyclists is estimated to cost $3.4 million. Basalt has committed $1.5 million from its Parks, Open Space and Trails fund. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has pledged $500,000, according to Scanlon. RFTA and Basalt are working on a grant application for another $500,000.
Scanlon said the balance of roughly $500,000 will come from Basalt, Pitkin County or a combination of the two.
The underpass will be constructed on the east or upvalley side of Basalt’s major intersection, from the vicinity of the Basalt Store to the RFTA parking lot. It will provide a safe way for students and other walkers and cyclists to connect between Old Town and South Side.
The town’s goal is to complete the design by spring 2015. Construction is targeted to start in June and the underpass could be completed by next fall, Scanlon said.