Bridge work intermission begins Tues
Aspen commuters take heart: Your long, Castle Creek Bridge-related frustrations are about to end Tuesday as the project enters sleep mode for the summer.
But don’t get too excited just yet.
“On Wednesday there will be normal S-curve conditions,” said Pete Rice, the city of Aspen’s manager for the Castle Creek project. “There will be no impact to traffic theoretically.”
Translation: The city’s summer season is about to begin and the tourist influx is about to generate “normal S-curve backups” as opposed to construction-related backups, he said.
“Traffic is about to increase,” Rice said.
The city’s much-maligned $5 million Hallam Street corridor overhaul — which began in April — will cease affecting traffic Wednesday, though the project won’t stop, Rice said. Crews will continue working on side projects that don’t impact traffic flow in order to lessen the time it will take to complete the project when full work resumes Aug. 20, he said.
“We can’t impact traffic,” Rice said. “I think people need a break.”
When finished in late October, the corridor will feature newly configured intersections and bus stops at Seventh and Eighth streets, a wider, 8-foot sidewalk on the north side of Castle Creek Bridge for pedestrians and bikers and reinforced portions of the roadway that will better stand-up to constant traffic and winter wear and tear.
In fact, the S-curve corners have already been replaced with thick concrete as opposed to asphalt, which will “hold up a lot longer,” Rice said.
“That’s a big deal,” he said. “We have to fix that every year.”
Other items completed so far this spring are mostly invisible infrastructure such as storm sewers, Rice said.
Crews will be able to build the north-side bus shelter without traffic impact, though the southside shelter will have to wait until fall because it will affect traffic, he said.
Castle Creek Bridge will remain off limits to pedestrians and bikers for the time being, Rice said.
As for traffic impacts this spring, he said the situation was manageable.
“It’s gone well,” Rice said. “Traffic, for the most part, has been pretty decent, but we had some days where we definitely had some backups. But, for the most part, I feel like we did a pretty good job with traffic.
“I’m sure a lot of people in the community would disagree with that.”
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Every summer there comes a particular hike on a particular day when you know you’re seeing the best wildflower display of the year. It is a magical, and bittersweet, day.