City of Aspen delays traffic snarls at Castle Creek Bridge |

City of Aspen delays traffic snarls at Castle Creek Bridge

Traffic streams into Aspen on Tuesday on a newly-paved S-curve with concrete. Aspen City Council agreed on Tuesday to pay more for concrete at the 7th and Main intersection, in front of the Hickory House. Concrete requires less maintenance than asphalt, which is prone to ruts and potholes.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

Commuters will get an extra week of reprieve from construction on the Castle Creek Bridge now that the project’s third phase will begin after Labor Day.

Detours and traffic delays were expected to begin Aug. 20, but city officials Tuesday said the project is on track so they can accommodate community members’ concerns about construction impacts in mid- and late-August.

“That was great that we were able to push it back,” City Engineer Trish Aragon told Aspen City Council on Tuesday as part of an update.

Project manager Hailey Guglielmo said in a statement that crews have been able to minimize the construction schedule. “We’re glad that the contractor is able to finish this final stretch in a shorter time frame and hope that this eases impacts for all,” she said.

Work stopped on the bridge and the Hallam Street corridor in June to not interrupt traffic flow during high season. When work began this past spring, it caused major traffic delays.

Guglielmo warned that significant delays are anticipated for both inbound and outbound traffic when work resumes in September.

Following the Labor Day weekend, outbound traffic will be routed through the West End neighborhood to Power Plant Road.

The detour will go into effect from around 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and some Saturdays. This configuration is anticipated to be in effect through October.

The $4.65 million project, which is an overhaul of the Hallam Street corridor and the Entrance to Aspen, is between 70 and 75 percent complete, according to Pete Rice, the city’s senior project manager.

It includes an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side of the bridge and a guardrail between vehicles and pedestrians, along with new intersections and bus stops at Seventh and Eighth streets to improve pedestrian safety.

As part of the work that’s already been done, crews paved the S-curve at Seventh and Hallam streets with concrete. That was done to reduce the need for maintenance and the rutting around the S-curve.

Asphalt is prone to potholes and requires maintenance every three to four years. The concrete section utilized at the corner of Seventh and Hallam streets is expected to last 20 years with no maintenance, according to city officials.

Council agreed to Aragon’s proposal to use concrete at the corner where the Hickory House restaurant is located — the intersection of Seventh and Main streets.

“While we are doing work, why not look at the Hickory House intersection?” Aragon told council. “Let’s just get it all done at once.”

The city’s cost for the upgrade will be $339,000. The Colorado Department of Transportation will put in $249,000 for the concrete section.

The entire bridge and corridor project is expected to be complete by Nov. 1.