Motorists have something to toast over, get reprieve from roundabout construction
Work suspended at Entrance to Aspen during Food & Wine Classic
Motorists will get a brief reprieve from the construction of a new roundabout at the entrance to Aspen on Friday and Saturday as work has been suspended during the Food & Wine Classic.
The project, which was necessitated by the desire of city and Colorado Department of Transportation officials to replace asphalt with concrete for better durability and longer lifespan, began in April and is scheduled to be complete June 30.
The cost for the new roundabout is funded by the city, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Pitkin County, the Elected Officials Transportation Committee and CDOT.
“We are grateful for their support for this team effort, which will result in a more durable, long-lasting roundabout,” said CDOT spokesperson Elise Thatcher.
The city contributed $980,000; RFTA, $300,000; the EOTC, $271,000; Pitkin County $100,000; and CDOT covering the rest.
“During project preparation, CDOT and these agency partners worked closely to modify construction methods to limit the disturbance area, coordinating closely on tree replacement and arranging a schedule to accommodate local events and businesses as much as possible,” Thatcher said. “We appreciate how patient customers have been when traveling through this project and we continue to work to minimize traffic impacts whenever possible.”
Pete Rice, division manager for the city’s engineering department, said he is extremely pleased with how the project has gone thus far.
“I’m noticing the geometric changes and I think they did a great job with traffic control,” he said, adding that by putting concrete in that section of roadway rather than asphalt, it will reduce the amount of construction work in the future by not having to fix potholes.
Drivers who pass through the area should plan on an additional 15 to 30 minutes in travel time, according to CDOT. Eastbound or upvalley traffic lane closures will be in place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, while westbound or downvalley traffic lane closures will be in place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. each weekday.
“Considerable vehicle congestion can be expected, including long delays due to the volume of traffic that travels through the Maroon Creek Roundabout and roadways that feed it,” a CDOT news release states. “Commuters are encouraged to ride (Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses), either from the communities in which they live or from the Brush Creek Park and Ride (parking lot at Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road).”
The roundabout is just the first phase CDOT’s six-month-long overhaul to Highway 82 at the entrance to Aspen.
From June into September, CDOT crews will be repaving and milling asphalt on the highway.
The deck of Maroon Creek Bridge will be resurfaced, as well as the replacing of the guardrail to meet current design standards. There also will be the installation of traffic signal detection cameras and replacement of ADA ramps.
For the Maroon Creek Bridge, roto-milling and repaving continues into August. Work will be performed in phases to allow four lanes of traffic on the bridge while the work zone is in place.
Highway 82 roto-milling and asphalt repaving from the Aspen Business Center to Cemetery Lane begins in late August or early September.
Most of the milling and paving work will take place at night and Highway 82 will remain open with one lane in each direction, according to Thatcher.
“Big picture, the purpose of this project is primarily surface treatment to extend the life of the existing asphalt pavement by milling and repaving the top 2 inches on Highway 82 between the Aspen Airport Business Center and the S-curves,” she said.
Passenger cars and trucks will be able to either take a detour from Smith Hill Way to McLain Flats to Cemetery Lane and back to Highway 82, or they can stay on Highway 82 all the way into Aspen. Buses, freight and commercial vehicles will be required to remain on Highway 82 and are prohibited on McLain Flats Road.
In September, CDOT crews will replace a joint on the Castle Creek Bridge, which could be one of the more impactful segments of work.
During the joint replacement, westbound traffic will be routed onto the Power Plant Road detour.
Westbound tractor trailers, buses and emergency vehicles will use Highway 82 across the bridge through an alternating one-way work zone, with traffic entering Aspen on eastbound Highway 82 across the bridge.
Work will begin after Labor Day and will continue into October, and will occur during the day and at night in some instances.
Motorists are asked to check COtrip.org for the most up-to-date information on traffic impacts.
Pitkin County Library representatives and Snowmass Village community members are looking at a possible expansion (and, in turn, a consolidation) of library services in the village.
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