Fryingpan Road scraped clean, but new asphalt slow in coming
Some people along the Fryingpan River are wondering why Eagle County would unpave a perfectly good road and then leave it that way.
County road construction crews started removing asphalt pavement from the first four miles of Fryingpan Road on July 7, and two months later, it still hasn’t been repaved. Eagle County Road and Bridge Director Brad Higgins said the repaving hasn’t started yet because the paving contractor is busy with another job. The Fryingpan Road had to be reconstructed because the road’s sub-base was failing, and potholes were becoming more and more prevalent, Higgins said.
One humorist used spray paint to comment on the duration of the construction project. On a sign, which warns of “loose gravel” at the work site, the vandal wrote “til when?”
Impatience among those who travel the road frequently problems stems from the lack of work that has occurred on the road recently. Workmen finished grading and packing the new road base more than two weeks ago, and the only work done since then has been the placement of markers locating the center line of the road by a survey crew.
“They’re just sitting on it, not doing a thing,” said Roy Palm, owner of Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt, and a Fryingpan Road resident.
“It’s getting old now. It shouldn’t be taking this long,” Palm said. He said he’s happy the county is improving the road, but driving up and down it these days is “a pain in the neck.”
A 25-year Fryingpan resident who didn’t want to be identified said he doesn’t see the need for the paving job. He said he’s biked the road literally thousands of times and knows there’s not a big problem with recurring potholes.
“As far as blaming it on the condition of the road, that’s bull,” he said. He said the county didn’t publicize its intent to start the job, and noted he’s only seen a small announcement in one newspaper.
“It’s been a big mess and a big disappointment,” he said.
Fryingpan resident Jim Condit said the county did a pretty good job of keeping traffic moving while the work was under way, but he doesn’t understand the delay in paving the road now that the base work is done. Because he lives at mile marker seven, he said he’ll be affected twice, because the county is planning to repave a second section of the road next year.
“I can’t please anybody on this job,” Road and Bridge Director Higgins said. “I’ve had a lot of people call on this.”
Higgins said nothing is happening on the project because the county is waiting for the paving contractor. Also, the preparatory work done by a county crew was delayed by problems with a rented pavement grinder, he added.
Higgins said the contractor, Frontier Paving of Silt, is behind schedule because of rainy weather in July and August.
“As soon as I hear from him, I’ll know more,” Higgins said. At the latest, he expects the contractor to begin paving on Monday, Sept. 13.
The delay, however, may have an up side. “We figured the tourist traffic would die down after Labor Day,” Higgins said.
The road needs to be repaved from scratch, Higgins said, because the base under the pavement was collapsing in places, causing potholes to form in the pavement. The county has elected to do the project in three manageable sections.
Little space exists to widen the road beyond the width of the existing pavement, Higgins said, but it will be widened where there is room. The road is to be surfaced with four inches of asphalt.
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