Aspen’s ironic traffic history |

Aspen’s ironic traffic history

Dear Editor:Efforts to improve traffic flow into Aspen were first undertaken in 1968, long before 1994 as reported by Ms. Nicoletti in her Jan. 24 article.Funds were budgeted in 1968 and by 1970 a completed design was ready for construction from Aspen to Brush Creek. At that time the most expensive land needed for right of way cost $12,000 per acre. The design called for a straight connection to Main Street, eliminating the inefficient S-curves.During February 1970, opponents to the improvement, led by Dwight Shellman and Bob Lewis, took over the design public hearing at the courthouse, resulting in a five-hour-long, often raucous, meeting. Details remain clearly in my 81-year-old mind. I was the district engineer leading the CDOT charge. Because of the controversy, chief engineer Charlie Shumate canceled the project.During the late 1970s we prepared an EIS covering the area from Aspen to Carbondale. At a design public hearing held in Basalt during early 1982, I announced that the EIS was recommending the “do-nothing” alternative from Wingo Junction to Aspen. Opposition to improvements near Aspen was holding up modernization of all of the lower portion of SH 82. The EIS was approved with that recommendation, and reconstruction resumed from Carbondale south.All of these years from about 1975, Aspen could have been enjoying a smoothly flowing parkway that we proposed. Opponents claimed that a four-lane highway would cause Aspen to grow. That happened anyway. I would love to hear a public admission of mistakes made by leaders of the opposition.Dick ProsencePhoenix

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