Construction costs delay Brush Creek park-and-ride improvements |

Construction costs delay Brush Creek park-and-ride improvements

Improvements at the Brush Creek park-and-ride will be postponed another year after the cost came in much higher than than the initial construction estimate. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Long-discussed improvements expected to be completed this summer at the Brush Creek park-and-ride lot will be postponed another year, an official said Wednesday.

Two construction bids for the project, which will include permanent bathrooms, came in at more than twice and close to triple the initial construction estimate, David Pesnichak, administrator for the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, told Pitkin County commissioners.

“The bids were too high,” he said. “Hopefully the construction industry does stabilize.”

The bidding process, managed by the Federal Highway Administration, will be repeated in the fall, with summer 2023 the new expected completion date, Pesnichak said.

The improvements were not only slated to include bathrooms with septic infrastructure, the estimated $5.6 million price tag also was to include 200 newly paved parking spaces — now covered by recycled asphalt — to go with the 200 currently paved spaces. Security lighting, additional landscaping and a carpool kiosk were included as part of the improvements, while food trucks also have been talked about for the site.

The bidding process for the project occurred in December and attracted just the two bids — one for $12 million and one for $15 million, Pesnichak said. The highway administration considered the bids too high.

Likely COVID-19 pandemic-related contributors to the inflated bids include a labor shortage, lack of raw materials and high demand for contractors, he said.

The project is expected to be paid for with a $1.9 million federal grant and EOTC funds.

The Brush Creek lot — located at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road — allows commuters and visitors to park for free and ride free Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses to Snowmass Village or Aspen. In addition to the 400 paved and gravel parking spots, the lot can hold another approximately 1,400 cars in unpaved, dirt areas.

The 27.2 acre site is owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation, though it is located in Pitkin County and leased by the city of Aspen and RFTA.