New bridge, but no roundabout for Woody Creek |

New bridge, but no roundabout for Woody Creek

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – A new bridge spanning the Roaring Fork River just above Woody Creek won a general nod from Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday, but a roundabout did not.

There are no funds available to build improvements where McLain Flats Road, Upper River Road and Smith Way intersect, but the county is working on the plans so the project is ready to build if funding does materialize.

The county engineer and a consultant ran through several alternatives to redesign the unsafe, and somewhat confusing, three-way intersection, as well as bridge replacement options.

The Woody Creek Caucus was cool to the single-lane roundabout plan, though it rose to the top of a list of options for engineers as a way to move traffic and, and the same time, slow traffic down, said G.R. Fielding, county engineer. Commissioners were cool to the idea, as well.

The roundabout and new bridge together feel “overdesigned,” said Commissioner Rachel Richards, calling the improvements “character changing.”

Replacement of the old wooden bridge next to the intersection, which is nearing the end of its life, did win general agreement as a better alternative than removing and refurbishing the existing span – a move that would mean a lengthy detour for a long period of time while the bridge was out. The new one can be built just downstream of the old one, allowing travel to continue across the river without much interruption.

A new T-intersection that also accommodates the access to adjacent Jaffee Park is preferable to the roundabout, commissioners concurred.

Measures to halt falling rock near the intersection are also part of the plans.

A rough estimate of the project cost puts the new bridge at $1.2 to $1.5 million and the rebuilt intersection at $400,000 to $800,000, Fielding said.

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