County approves airport-to-Buttermilk highway work |

County approves airport-to-Buttermilk highway work

The Pitkin County commissioners approved three separate ordinances yesterday that will allow the state transportation department to proceed with the four-laning of Highway 82 between the airport and Buttermilk Mountain.

The commissioners agreed unanimously that the Colorado Department of Transportation should be allowed to call for bids on the next leg of the highway project even though it has yet to acquire all of the property it needs. Essentially, the county is allowing the state to act as if it already owned the land.

County public works manager Bud Eylar said the affected property amounted to about 5.2 acres. It includes two parcels on the north side of the highway next to the bus barn and public works shop, and a strip of property along the south side of the highway that begins at the stoplight at the Airport Business Center and ends at the Buttermilk.

The commissioners also agreed to work with the state in acquiring the Stapleton property, comprised of the undeveloped fields west of Buttermilk Mountain. Eylar said the land is needed to relocate Owl Creek Road so that it skirts along the base of Buttermilk Mountain and intersects with Highway 82 next to the ski area.

Assistant county attorney Debbie Quinn said the county’s participation was needed because the transportation department’s condemnation authority is limited, while the county has broader power to acquire property for public use.

The commissioners also voted to acquire two parcels on the upvalley end of the runway at Sardy Field. The purchases include an 11-acre section of the city-owned Burlingame property, and the 1.5-acre parcel that includes the only residential structure in immediate proximity to the runway.

Interim airport director Dave Gordon said the Federal Aviation Administration would likely cover 90 percent of the bill for the two lots at the end of the runway.

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