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Highway construction gears up

Aspen Times Staff Report

The headaches associated with summer commuting are likely to return soon as the Colorado Department of Transportation launches into another busy season of Highway 82 construction.

Widening work has begun on a new section of highway, a 1.5-mile project from Wingo Bridge to just past the Snowmass Creek Road intersection. Kiewit Western, which has done most of the highway widening work, also holds the contract for this project.

CDOT and Kiewit began clearing vegetation in recent weeks to make room for the project to begin. The upvalley lanes in that section should be completed by this fall, said Ralph Trapani, CDOT highway project engineer. Traffic will then be diverted onto the upvalley lanes to make room for work on the downvalley lanes, expected to be completed by the summer of 2001.

Meanwhile, the current Holland Hills project from Basalt to Wingo Junction is ahead of schedule, according to Trapani. Kiewit Western expects to open four lanes to traffic in mid- to late-July, rather than this fall, when the project was originally expected to be finished.

Motorists will also see a major change in the Shale Bluffs area when traffic is diverted onto the new downvalley lanes in June. The switch will allow workers to complete the upvalley lanes, which will include blasting of the bluffs. Trapani estimates four lanes through the bluffs will be open this fall.

CDOT plans to open high-occupancy vehicle lanes on each section as they are completed.

As all the projects move into high gear, commuters can expect more traffic stops. Trapani said CDOT will keep motorists informed throughout the summer about where they can expect delays and how long they will last.

For information about traffic delays and construction updates, call 928-6682, or log on to www. dot.state.co.us.


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