Aspen to extend construction hours when Glenwood bridge closes
Construction workers in Aspen will get three more hours a day to do their jobs because of the city’s expectations for major traffic delays spurred by next month’s bridge closure in Glenwood Springs.
Aspen City Council made the call at a work session Tuesday after hearing from the city’s Public Works and Engineering departments about concerns they heard from contractors that the bridge closure — which is estimated to last 95 days starting Aug. 14 — would shorten their workdays.
That’s because there will be increased gridlock on Highway 82 between Glenwood Springs and Aspen during the morning and afternoon commutes due to detours in Glenwood. With construction vehicles en route to Aspen, where existing construction hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the weekdays, arrival delays to Aspen appear to be inevitable.
With the temporary new hours, weekday construction will be allowed in Aspen from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m, but only interior construction will be allowed during those three extra work hours.
Tuesday’s decision by the council marked one of various ways that are being eyed to ease the congestion that will come with the bridge closure. At a public meeting in Glenwood in June, Colorado Department of Transportation project engineer Graham Riddile said traffic needs to be reduced by 700 vehicle trips per hour at peak times — from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. — to establish a level that the detour roads can handle.
Aspen residents and employers wanting to learn more the closure’s impacts can attend a public meeting at 1 p.m. today at City Hall, where CDOT officials will provide information on the three-month plus project.
The caveat with the new, extended hours — that interior work is only allowed during the extra 90 minutes on each side of the day — was prompted by Councilman Bert Myrin, who said exterior work could disrupt residents, some of whom he said “have no relief” from the noise generated by current construction activity.
“I think anything we can do is going to have a positive effect,” said Tony Kornasiewicz, who is in charge of construction mitigation for the city.
The city’s construction hours will remain from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Construction is prohibited Sundays.
For detour, public transportation and bridge construction information, visit grandavebridge.codot.gov or go to facebook.com/GrandAveBridgeProject.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.