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More four-lane will open soon

Jeremy Heiman

Several Highway 82 construction delays that have become facts of life for commuters should be out of the way before the summer is over.

The Shale Bluffs section near Brush Creek, and the stretch between Wingo Junction and Snowmass Creek, are both expected to be open within six weeks, highway engineers say. The Wingo-to-Snowmass Creek section is scheduled to open July 21 and the target date for opening the Shale Bluffs section is Aug. 22.

Those stretches of the highway have been expanded to four lanes, and they appear to be ready for traffic. But a few minor details need to be completed on each section, said Ed Archuleta, project engineer on the Shale Bluffs section.

He said the project was ahead of schedule last year until a rockslide in September pushed back the completion date.

Construction will start today on a wall that will be placed against the hillside, to protect the upvalley lane, Archuleta said. Once that’s completed, paving of the upvalley lane will be done.

The downvalley lanes are still not fully open, Archuleta said, because some drainage work must be completed under the highway, and workers will be using manholes in the road.

Pavement grinding done this week was necessary, Archuleta said, because the construction company’s contract required a certain degree of smoothness. The grinding corrects bumps which result from paving short stretches of road.

The slabs supporting the approaches to the bridge in the downvalley lane had to be replaced, Archuleta said, but that work was completed last week. Other details, such as landscaping and grading behind the bus parking area, are under way.

Rich Orton, a Colorado Department of Transportation engineer who supervises the Wingo-to-Snowmass Creek project, said that project is wrapping up quickly.

“It’s about 95 percent complete,” Orton said. “We have some punch list items to complete.”

Punch list items are the final details, such as replacing a cracked barrier here, moving a chunk of old pavement there. Signs need to be placed, and number of landscaping items need to be put into the ground, too, Orton said.

The section from the Aspen Airport Business Center to Buttermilk is now under way. The highway will be widened to four lanes, and a traffic signal will be placed at the new Buttermilk intersection, which will also carry traffic from Owl Creek.


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