Aspen Airport Business Center underpass will be functional but incomplete
Construction of a pedestrian underpass of Highway 82 at the Aspen Business Center is four weeks behind schedule, but it is supposed to be functional by the time ski season starts, local officials said Monday.
Flatiron Construction was hired to build the underpass along with two new bus stations on either side of the highway for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The underpass was placed under RFTA’s supervision since it was overseeing a valleywide, $46 million expansion.
Project manager Mike Hermes wrote in a memo to RFTA’s board of directors that Flatiron has “recently begun picking up some momentum.”
“Staff is still optimistic that the stations can be fully functional and that a safe path through the underpass between the stations can be completed by Thanksgiving,” Hermes wrote.
However, “more work than anticipated” will be delayed until spring 2014, according to Hermes.
In an interview, Hermes explained that Flatiron has to return Highway 82 to a full functional condition — with no diversions of traffic lanes — on or about Nov. 1 under terms of the permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“They have to get that back to CDOT specs,” Hermes said in an interview. “They (CDOT) pretty much kick people off the highway Nov. 1.”
Hermes said it is likely that Flatiron will install temporary, asphalt walkways this fall between the bus stations and the pedestrian underpass. It will have to return next spring to put in concrete sidewalks.
The delays won’t come cheap. Flatiron’s contract calls for it to complete the job this fall or pay a penalty of $3,000 per day, RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship told The Aspen Times earlier this month. It couldn’t be determined Monday if Flatiron will pay a daily penalty through the winter for the work that isn’t finished this fall.
The pedestrian underpass is nearly one-half complete. During the first half of construction, traffic was diverted to the Aspen Business Center side of the highway. Starting Sunday, it will be diverted to the airport side of the highway. All four lanes will remain open, with a jog.
For the next few weeks, the Bureau of Land Management is asking for public comment regarding its decision to evaluate its oil and gas program and other management decisions across the state to promote the conservation of big game habitat.
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