ABC slated for a major road overhaul
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
ASPEN – Plans for a major overhaul of the street system at the Aspen Business Center next year have been refined to eliminate curbs and sidewalks on a couple of key arterials in order to spare adjacent trees, and a stormwater-retention pond has been added to the proposal.
The latest revisions were the focus of a presentation to Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday. The cost estimate for the project now stands at $2.6 million, down from $2.8 million last spring, when commissioners balked at sending stormwater that drains from the residential/commercial complex directly into the Roaring Fork River.
Since then, stormwater improvements have been added, but a significant amount of curb, gutter and sidewalk has been removed in favor of at-grade pedestrian walkways on the streets themselves, according to G.R. Fielding, county engineer.
Improvements at the Aspen Business Center will constitute the county’s most significant public works capital project in 2013, according to Jon Peacock, county manager. The center is on the outskirts of Aspen, across Highway 82 from the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.
Rebuilding a drainage system in the complex that fails regularly is a priority. Heavy rains lead to water problems for business-center buildings, which are set below street level and an undersized system of pipes and inlets have led to occasional washouts of the Stein Trail, which leads from the business center down a steep hillside to the Roaring Fork River and Rio Grande Trail to the west. In addition, flooding and washouts have caused problems for the Aspen sanitation plant, located along the river below the business center.
At the commissioners’ urging, a retention pond in a bowl-shaped area on the hillside, above the sanitation plant, has been added to the plan. It will be capable of holding 1.36 acre-feet of water and be able to handle a 100-year rain event, according to Fielding.
“That’s a significant amount of water that it can hold,” he said.
The release of water from the pond will be controllable, allowing sediments to settle out before stormwater flows into the river.
The pond will require relocation of part of the Stein Trail, Fielding said.
Within the center itself, a sidewalk will be installed along Baltic Avenue, the main entrance road. Instead of sidewalks on the 200 and 300 roads, though, pedestrian walkways will be delineated on the north-south streets themselves, saving trees but eliminating some of the planned on-street parking. Previously, the 300 Road was to become a one-way street to accommodate parking on both sides; instead, it will carry two-way traffic with parking on one side and the walkway on the other, Fielding said.
“I like the fact that this plan backs off on a lot of the tree removal,” said business center representative Rob Snyder.
“It’s high time,” said ABC commercial landlord Mark Uhlfelder of the planned improvements.
Commissioners will further review the project during 2013 budget discussions this fall.
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Studies by Colorado Parks and Wildlife show the survival of elk calves in the Roaring Fork Valley has dropped about 33 percent in the last decade. White River National Forest officials said they need to act to try to reserve that trend. They are seeking public comment on their plan.