Hwy. section nearly done | AspenTimes.com

Hwy. section nearly done

Allyn Harvey

Facing a summer full of highway construction work, commuters can at least take solace in the fact that one of the largest projects will be over sometime in July.

Officials from Kiewit Western, the company that is widening Highway 82 at Holland Hills and Shale Bluffs, expect the Holland Hills portion to be finished in early July, two months ahead of schedule.

The Holland Hills project is in its final stretch, according to Kiewit Western’s Mary Tiffany. Crews are continuing to prepare the ground for asphalt, which, if current plans pan out, will be poured in the second or third week of May.

“We’re not going to begin paving at least until the second week of May – maybe the week of the tenth,” Tiffany said.

Meanwhile, crews began relocating the concrete “Jersey” barriers used to separate traffic from construction crews to the next leg of the project – Wingo Junction to the Old Snowmass Conoco. Kiewit Western is the prime contractor for that project, too, which could begin before the end of the month.

Tiffany said company managers are looking to hire concrete finishers, carpenters and laborers for both the Holland Hills project and the upcoming Snowmass Conoco project. “We are a union company,” Tiffany said, “so when we need people, we go to the union halls first.”

But the construction boom had made skilled union labor scarce, so the company will often hire through advertisements in the newspapers, she said.

Work is also running ahead of schedule at Shale Bluffs, where traffic is expected to be moved to the new lanes sometime in late May. Project superintendent Mark Gutknecht said the switch is about three months ahead of schedule.

“Then we have to rebuild the upvalley side with the existing lanes,” Gutknecht said. Some demolition will be necessary, he said, so the road can be widened and straightened.

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