Contractor hopes adjusting traffic signal times will ease snarls in Basalt |

Contractor hopes adjusting traffic signal times will ease snarls in Basalt

Traffic lines up on Basalt Avenue South Tuesday afternoon while waiting to exit onto Highway 82 or proceed into Basalt. The congestion was eased Tuesday afternoon by manually controlling the traffic signal.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

The contractor on the Basalt pedestrian underpass project made progress in easing traffic congestion at one of the main intersections in town Tuesday afternoon but faces another test this morning.

A contractor certified by the Colorado Department of Transportation to manually operate the traffic signal at Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue was on site Tuesday afternoon and adjusting signal times to relieve snarls, particularly on Basalt Avenue South. Traffic wasn’t backed up nearly as bad as it was on previous days when school got out. Traffic was flowing fairly well between 3:30 and 4 p.m.

“It was a big, big step forward,” said Bob Schultz, who is helping as a public information officer on the project. “We’ll know a lot more (Wednesday) morning.”

The timed cycle for Basalt Avenue was increased by 10 seconds, to 35 seconds. The contractor had permission from CDOT to increase the time further when warranted, as long as congestion wasn’t created on Highway 82, Schultz said.

Traffic exiting Basalt Avenue South to Highway 82 currently is reduced to one lane because of construction. Basalt Avenue, north and south of the highway, must be shifted downvalley for construction of the pedestrian underpass. Support towers for temporary traffic signals have been erected in prior traffic lanes.

The shift of the lanes will occur on or around Nov. 10, Schultz said. When that occurs, Basalt Avenue South will be back to two lanes flowing to Highway 82.

Officials hope the changes at the signal ease commuters’ pain. Some travelers reported delays of between 30 and 60 minutes between Basalt High School and Highway 82.

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