Downtown Aspen returns to normal as snow ebbs |

Downtown Aspen returns to normal as snow ebbs

A dumptruck hauling a load of snow from Aspen passes over the muliple potholes present at the roundabout Thursday.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Thanks to warmer weather, a respite in the snow and the efforts of city crews, Aspen streets are starting to return to normal after last week’s monster snowstorm dropped more than 2 feet in town.

“We’re pretty much finishing up now,” Jerry Nye, Aspen’s streets superintendent, said Thursday. “We’re going to regroup after Friday morning.”

City crews and contractors removed more than 1,600 dump truck loads of snow between Monday and Friday last week, Nye said. The man who keeps track of those numbers has been out sick with pneumonia, so Nye didn’t know how many truckloads have come out of the city since, though he estimated that it’s at least another 800.

Much of that snow has been dumped at the Marolt Open Space, though that spot is only good as long as the ground is frozen, he said. When it thaws out, trucks are liable to get stuck and tear up the grass.

So when Marolt thaws, the snow is taken to the city’s regular snow dump near the city shop across from the airport, Nye said.

The downtown area is clear and safe, and crews were working Thursday to clear residential streets, including Lone Pine near the Hunter Creek Condominums, Nye said.

The warm weather actually has made city crews’ jobs harder, he said, because they must try and keep drain basins open that are often frozen.

“We’d rather see the white, fluffy stuff,” Nye said.

Meanwhile, crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation came out Tuesday to patch a group of large potholes at the roundabout on the way into town, Nye said. Those crews put down a so-called “cold mix patch,” he said.

On Tuesday, after Pitkin County Commissioner Patti Clapper asked him about the giant roundabout potholes, the county’s Public Works Director Brian Pettet said those cold patches can fail almost immediately because they don’t bond well to the road.

Nye said city crews planned to head out Thursday night to apply more permanent patches to the same area using a chip-sealer-type machine. They also are trying to direct water away from the area to try and stop the erosion.

The same area deteriorated late last year, and Nye said he knew it would be a problem this year.

“We didn’t know it was going to be this bad,” he said. “We didn’t know there would be so many in that one area.”

He said he’d heard that CDOT might come out and re-pave the roundabout this summer, but he wasn’t sure. A message left for a CDOT spokeswoman Thursday morning was not returned.

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