But if work does start . | AspenTimes.com

But if work does start .

Allyn Harvey

One of the worst intersections in the upper valley is about to become even more troublesome just in time for summer.

But, say local officials, everything possible is being done to ease congestion at the intersection of Highway 82 and Maroon Creek Road, where construction of new transit lanes, a bus transfer station and a roundabout is scheduled to begin this week.

“Exactly the same restrictions that have governed the rest of the work on Highway 82 will be in place here,” said Randy Ready, assistant manager for the city of Aspen.

That means crews from lead contractor Gould Construction will not be allowed to stop traffic during peak commuter hours – 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nor will they be allowed to stop traffic for more than five minutes at a time throughout the day.

Once school reopens in late August, traffic will flow unimpeded from 2:45 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to Stan Berryman, county public works director.

Ready said that Gould will start by building transit lanes between Maroon Creek bridge and Maroon Creek Road. That will allow traffic to move in both directions during the later stages of the project, when the roundabout is being built and lanes are being added to the intersection.

Ready said that traffic will be moving in both directions for most, if not all of the project.

To give Gould the time it needs to complete the project before winter arrives, the Aspen City Council agreed two weeks ago to allow night construction at the site. The intersection is surrounded by the golf course, the Moore open space, the Marolt open space and property owned by the Aspen Chapel.

“There’s quite a buffer between the intersection and the nearest residential area,” Ready said, “so the disturbance caused by night work should be minimal.”

The transit lanes and roundabout are the first phase of the Entrance to Aspen portion of the Highway 82 project. Local elected officials from the city, county and Snowmass Village agreed to pay for the $6.4 million project, even though the state transportation commission has balked at requests for funding assistance.

County Commissioner Mick Ireland, who represents Pitkin County and Aspen on a regional transportation board that has control over some state highway funds, said he expects about $4.8 million of the project’s cost to eventually be reimbursed.

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