Hummer comes in handy amid Owl Creek roadwork |

Hummer comes in handy amid Owl Creek roadwork

Florida residents Robert and Lexie Potamkin found the best way around lengthy construction delays on Owl Creek Road is across a field and over a hill.

Soon after construction crews began working on drainage and utility improvements and preparing to pave a mile-long stretch of Owl Creek Road, the Potamkins and others who live near the work zone found themselves waiting behind a flagger for as long as 40 minutes.

One day Lexie, who can see the roof of the house she’s staying at from the upvalley stop point, turned her Hummer H2 into the waste-high grass and drove it home. A few hundred yards and one shallow ditch later, she pulled into the driveway.

“That’s what they built this thing for,” Lexie said as she unloaded herself and her baby yesterday from the H2. “I’ve told the neighbors if they are in a pinch they can cut across our field.”

“We wave to her and kind of give her a grin, like cool,” said Tory Manley, a flagger on the project.

Brian Pettet, Pitkin County Public Works director, doesn’t see any problem with the Potamkins’ makeshift driveway.

“If people want to drive across their field, that’s fine. We appreciate them finding alternative routes,” he said.

Paving of the final unpaved section of Owl Creek Road started at the beginning of June. Once the work is done, the entire road, a popular route from Aspen to Snowmass Village, will be paved from end to end, some 32 years after it was first proposed.

The road is not open to through traffic; only local access will be allowed until the work is completed in mid- to late-August.

Large signs placed near the airport, about two miles before the construction zone, announce that the road is closed and warn that delays for local traffic could last as long as 40 minutes.

Flagger Manley’s co-worker, who was working the Snowmass Village side of the project yesterday, said about half the people who want to drive through the work zone say they didn’t see the sign.

Pettet’s office has received no complaints about the project, which is almost unheard of when a road is closed for a significant length of time.

Owl Creek Road is scheduled to remain closed until the end of August, although Pettet said the work is running ahead of schedule, so the road may open as soon as mid-August.

The road will be temporarily opened tomorrow to help alleviate Independence Day traffic.

[Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is]

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