Mall Transit Center budgeted for $32.3 million, goal is to finish project within 2 years |

Mall Transit Center budgeted for $32.3 million, goal is to finish project within 2 years

A rendering of a proposed transit center near the Snowmass Mall as viewed from Daly Lane.
Town of Snowmass Village/Courtesy image

The Snowmass Town Council discussed the Mall Transit Center at its meeting Monday to get feedback on the project that is budgeted for just over $32 million and is expected to be finished within two years.

Currently, the $32.2 million budget is supported by $6 million from the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, $5.5 million from the state, $1.5 million from Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, $16.2 million in federal funding, and $3 million from the town of Snowmass Village.

Cost overrun was a concern of councilman Tom Fridstein.

“What if (the project) comes in over budget?” he asked.

The town is prepared in the event that the project’s cost exceeds budget, said Transportation Director Sam Guarino, who started the discussion by updating newly elected councilwomen Britta Gustafson and Susan Marolt on the project.

“We’ve been working hard to make sure we’ve got contingencies in place for that and that we’re planning for it to continue to go up in price,” said Guarino. “That said, we think we’re within the striking distance and if it does come in over budget, we’ll continue to look for other sources of funding, be them local or other grants,”

The current transit center is in need of an update, according to Snowmass Village officials. Nearly 1 million rides enter and depart from the center, and the current facility does not meet the demand for rides. Pedestrian access is unsafe and difficult, especially for those with disabilities.

The new center will have seven independent bays, eliminating the stacking of buses and allowing for a more efficient flow of incoming and outgoing buses. The project also calls for designed bays that fit the larger buses, anticipating many RFTA buses will switch to a larger electric model in the coming years.

“What we’ve tried to do is not design this for today but design this for tomorrow and beyond,” said Alex Jauch of SEH Architecture.

Mayor Bill Madsen asked about the possibility of electric snowmelt capabilities that had been previously discussed. Despite the efforts of the town staff, Holy Cross Energy said the they did not have the energy capabilities to provide electric boilers in the transit center while serving other energy needs of the community.

The initial boilers will be gas-powered; however, the boiler room is large enough to accommodate electric boilers if the option becomes more available said Town Manager Clint Kinney.

Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk added that Snowmass Village is already under a lot of construction and asked about the timing of this project.

“I feel like there’s a lot of building going on. Talking to people who have had to utilize Wood Road this summer with all the construction and even now, it’s a lot. I don’t like the feeling that people feel like they can’t go anywhere in the village without some sort of obstruction,” Shenk said.

“We think about that a lot,” responded Kinney.

He added that because of the grant money, the project needs to be finished within the next year-and-a-half to two years.

“I agree, there’s no good time to do it. But it’s been in the planning since ’85, we’ve got the dollars in place. I think we’re just going to have to suck it up and go for it,” said Madsen.

Construction is currently projected to take two years; however, staff is working on shortening that.

The land-use review for the project is scheduled to begin in January.


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