Drivers overheat at roundabout site |

Drivers overheat at roundabout site

Allyn Harvey

On the hottest day so far this year, drivers said they spent as much as an hour-and-a-half trying to get through the Maroon Creek intersection, where a new roundabout is being built.

And chances are, things are only going to get worse there this summer before they get better.

Complaints streamed in to the county manager’s office, City Hall and local newspapers, as commuters faced backups that rivaled the worst seen during the long construction project on Highway 82.

“More than a few calls have come into our office today,” County Manager Suzanne Konchan told the county commissioners yesterday.

One nonplused visitor called the Times to report that it took him about 90 minutes to get from Snowmass Village to Aspen via Owl Creek Road. An irate man caught in a similar backup Monday told the Times, “I almost made a U-turn downvalley and never came back to this stinking town.”

The backups apparently didn’t last all day. County Commissioner Mick Ireland reported that in spite of slowdowns that started at Buttermilk, it took him 14 minutes to get from the airport into town at midday.

Konchan said the cause appeared to be the construction between the Maroon Creek bridge and Maroon Creek Road, even though flaggers were not stopping traffic yesterday.

City and county traffic engineers believe the loss of the rightturn lane to Maroon Creek Road slowed things down; they also think large trucks parked on the side of Maroon Creek Road are triggering the traffic signal to change, even when no automobiles are waiting at the light.

The light will be changed before rush hour this morning, Konchan promised, and Public Works Director Stan Berryman was told to look for ways to reinstate a right-turn lane.

The construction of transit lanes, bus stops and a roundabout is not expected to be finished until November.

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