Asphalt flunks test on Highway 82 |

Asphalt flunks test on Highway 82

BASALT – Highway 82 commuters are facing renewed delays in the midvalley after asphalt laid down by a contractor earlier this summer failed tests conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Grand River Construction was required to repave portions of the downvalley-bound lanes on a 4-mile stretch between the intersection of Highway 82 and Lower River Road, and Basalt’s main stop light, according to transportation department spokeswoman Nancy Shanks.

The construction firm was given permission to work past 3:30 p.m., which was required during the original resurfacing to minimize delays with the afternoon commute of workers returning home from jobs in Aspen. While the extended hours interfere with the commute, it is meant to shorten the overall length of the project, Shanks said. “We relaxed that time frame because weather is moving in,” she said.

The work caused major snarls on Friday and lesser delays on Monday.

“We do regret that this corrective work has caused some delays for commuters,” Shanks said.

Some attentive commuters were puzzled that repaving was being undertaken in areas that had been covered with smooth asphalt just a few months ago; others expressed concern that federal stimulus dollars were being wasted.

Never fear, Shanks said, the latest resurfacing is being undertaken at Grand River Construction’s expense because the original asphalt used in a small portion of the overall project wasn’t up to specifications.

In layman’s terms, CDOT engineers test asphalt overlays for the oil content, the size of the rock and sand aggregate mix, and how well it compacts, according to Shanks. The asphalt used in the downvalley lanes on the stretch along Lazy Glen Mobile Home Park “did not meet specifications,” Shanks said. That created a potential risk of the highway rutting and vehicles skidding or hydroplaning as the surface aged.

Grand River must remove the asphalt to a 1-inch depth and resurface. One of the downvalley lanes was affected for a 4-mile stretch. The other downvalley lane was affected for a 2-mile stretch, according to Shanks.

“The rest tested out just fine,” she said.

The work is scheduled to be completed Wednesday, but that depends on suitable weather.

The cost to Grand River Construction for the corrective repaving was unknown. The company had an original contract for $3.3 million to repave various parts of Highway 82. An official with the construction company didn’t return a message from The Aspen Times Monday and didn’t respond to a CDOT request to call the newspaper.

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