Expect construction delays on Aspen’s Main Street this summer

Rebuilding the city’s second busiest bus stop will last until fall

RFTA passengers board the bus on Main St. in Aspen as they head home on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Once commuters get through the delays resulting from the work at Aspen’s roundabout and the resurfacing of Highway 82 this summer, they can prepare themselves for disruption on Main Street, as major construction will be occurring to improve the city’s second busiest bus stop.

Beginning Monday and lasting through Oct. 31, construction of the new Paepcke Transit Hub will impact traffic flow on Main Street and on South Garmisch Street, the latter of which will accommodate only southbound vehicles.

The beginning phase of work will see the left-turn lane onto South Garmisch Street from Main Street eliminated, as well as site preparation like restriping of the road and temporary crosswalks, along with relocating bus stops, according to Kathleen Wanatowicz, principal of PR Studio and spokesperson for the project.

“Through August there will be intermittent holds, but the goal is to keep traffic flowing on Main Street,” she said, noting that two lanes on each side of the street will be open until later this summer.

Eventually Main Street will go down to two open lanes into town during the morning and one lane going west, and two lanes open during the evening rush hour out of town and one lane open heading east.

“There will be a time when there is a full closure of the intersection,” Wanatowicz said of more intense work planned at the end of the summer.

Weather permitting, motorists can expect construction work on Main Street in Aspen by Paepcke Park from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

While crews and project managers will work to lessen impacts to motorists, people should expect delays.

“Traffic will be slower because you are going through a construction area,” Wanatowicz said. “In the end it will be much better, but with any project it’s messy, and there are impacts.”

She added that she recognizes, as do project managers, that the rebuild of the transit hub is just one of many construction interruptions occurring this summer.

“Slow down, be kind and be patient,” Wanatowicz said.

The Paepcke Transit Hub was supposed to be built last fall, but no contractors bid on the project in June 2021.

The city went out for bid again in September and received one bid and that was from Gould Construction.

Due to inflationary costs and disruptions in the supply chain, the cost of the project has increased from $1.9 million to $4.4 million.

Aspen City Council agreed earlier this year to move forward with the project anyway because delaying it would be losing $800,000 in Colorado Department of Transportation grants, which expire next year.

The city will make up the $2.5 million budget shortfall by deferring just over $1.1 million in other projects, and the transportation and asset management funds will split the cost of the remaining $1.3 million.

When the project is complete, the major improvements at the outbound bus stop across from Paepcke Park on Main Street are planned to create a safer, more comfortable location.

It will include a bus shelter that could fit as many as 30 people, as well as real-time transit signage and other amenities, including replacement of water, electrical and stormwater lines and the installation of conduits for future communications utilities.

Currently that bus stop, which serves all outbound buses, has just a three-person bench and a trash can.

The Main Street pedestrian crossing at South Garmisch Street will get an upgrade with a center island as a refuge, as it is one of the busiest nonsignaled crossings in the city.

Pedestrians are required to cross five lanes of traffic on Main Street, and loading buses and vehicles can impair visibility, according to city officials.

The project also will feature a bus pull-off area on Garmisch just south of the Molly Gibson Lodge and alley that will allow people to disembark and step onto a sidewalk that will lead them to a mid-block pedestrian crossing.

Currently, buses come to a stop in the street at the lodge’s parking lot, and people disembarking must step onto the street and then walk across to catch a sidewalk.

Know before you go:

Sign up for project updates and traffic impacts by texting MAIN to 844-308-6246 or email to

More information at:

Project phone number: 970-340-4332