Caution, Snowmass Village: Detour ahead |

Caution, Snowmass Village: Detour ahead

Chad Abraham

Construction on the $400 million Base Village will begin in earnest Monday, the day after Snowmass Ski Area closes, as will work on the $21 million Entryway project.”Expect construction traffic along Brush Creek Road due to materials transportation,” an Intrawest building schedule notes.The new Entryway near the rodeo lot will require a detour from Brush Creek Road, the village’s main thoroughfare, for nearly two months as the town builds a roundabout and completes other improvements. From April 24 to June 16, all vehicles heading into town – including construction trucks for Base Village, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses and delivery vans – will detour from Brush Creek Road to Owl Creek Road, via Highline Road.The construction and detour schedules were timed to coincide with offseason to minimize impacts to residents along the route, said Hunt Walker, the town’s public works director.Base Village crews will be busy next week tearing up the asphalt on Lower Carriage Way to install new utilities; excavating a new parking garage; constructing the Elk Camp gondola foundation; removing the Funnel lift and the Wood Road ski bridge; and monitoring wetlands and maintaining erosion control measures.After April 24, the personnel and vehicles needed for these early stage projects will use Highline and Owl Creek roads.Walker said Intrawest, a developer of the project along with the Aspen Skiing Co., considered running the trucks and equipment through the roundabout construction area. But the company decided the detour adds only three minutes to the trip into Snowmass Village. Building a detour lane through the roundabout project “didn’t make any sense” for Intrawest, Walker said. “So they decided to go with everyone else” down the detour route.Base Village will bring 1 million square feet of condominiums, restaurants, retail space, a new conference center and children’s ski school to the Fanny Hill area. The project won approval from 55 percent of village voters in 2005. The developers’ permit battle with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an issue that was settled two weeks ago, delayed construction for a year.The Entryway includes the $1.4 million roundabout, which town officials envision as the centerpiece of the new entrance area. The project’s early stages of construction include utility work and installing erosion-control measures. There could be temporary delays on Brush Creek Road starting Monday even though the detour doesn’t begin until April 24.Horse Ranch Drive will be rerouted to improve the entrance to the neighborhoods near the rodeo lot. About 100 to 150 homes are in the area, and residents will be able to access their homes through the detour, Walker said.Letters to those residents went out this week alerting them about the construction and detour. Road signs and newspaper ads will also advise the public.Walker said no one along the detour route had expressed any reservations yet about the impending traffic invasion.”I expect that we will,” he said.But residents who have ample warning of the closures are less likely to call to complain, he said.During peak times, such as a Jazz Aspen Snowmass concert combined with after-work traffic, vehicles tend to back up at the intersection of Owl Creek and Highline roads. The town usually has a police officer at the intersection to keep traffic flowing, Walker said.”We don’t anticipate that happening in April, May. If it does, then we’ll have to do the same thing,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”Although the detour ends in June, construction on Base Village and the Entryway will continue through the summer. Construction hours for Base Village are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Entryway crews will have the same days but can work an hour later, Walker said.The contractor must get the Town Council’s approval for extended hours.For more information on the Entryway project and related detour, call 923-5110.Construction to alter bus routesThe detour off Brush Creek Road during construction of the new roundabout near the rodeo lot will also change where people board buses.Those bound for the Snowmass Village mall starting April 19 will need to get off their Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses at the Snowmass Center and board a village shuttle that will run between the two areas. Those heading to Aspen or downvalley from Snowmass Village must transfer from a shuttle to a RFTA bus at the Snowmass Center or board at the bus stop across the street from the Conoco gas station.Starting April 19, RFTA buses will not be able to access the mall and will instead turn around and stage at the Conoco. From April 24 to June 16, the buses will use the Highline/Owl Creek detour.Pedestrians and residents below the mall who want to get to the Snowmass Center can call in a ride request with the town’s shuttle service at 923-3500 or catch a bus at Lot 1 at 13 minutes and 43 minutes after the hour.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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