News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Rush hour traffic halted for ambulanceLocal police Wednesday blocked traffic in both directions on Highway 82 and from Maroon Creek Road entering the roundabout to make way for an ambulance.The afternoon commute was interrupted for about five minutes during its peak yesterday so an infant in critical condition could be transported from Aspen Valley Hospital to the airport, where it was airlifted to a larger hospital, according to a dispatcher with the Aspen Police Department. Traffic was stopped at the roundabout and on the downvalley side of the Maroon Creek Bridge.

Development of Smuggler Mountain parcel reconsideredPitkin County Commissioners continued a hearing on the proposed development of a mining claim on Smuggler Mountain Wednesday, hoping the land could be preserved as open space.Tulasi Wilkinson owns a mining claim on the mountain that flanks Aspen’s northeast side, where hikers make the last switchback on Smuggler Mountain Road before heading toward the viewing platform. Wilkinson and commissioners have been in discussions over what size home she can build on the property for a number of months now.Her representative, Dave Myler, told commissioners yesterday they are looking into alternatives to development for the property, including conservation easements. He said the land has been deemed valuable for open space preservation; Wilkinson must still meet with the City of Aspen’s Open Space and Trails board to see if they can agree on a price.The plan is “on hold while we pursue viable alternatives,” Myler said after the meeting. “It will take a bit of creativity and a cooperative effort by the county, the city of Aspen and Tulasi.”

Comment period on Snowmass improvements reopenedThe White River National Forest Supervisor’s Office has re-released a draft environmental assessment for the Snowmass Ski Area that analyzes several projects proposed by the Aspen Skiing Co. to upgrade lifts and trails within the ski area boundary. The two main project proposals are opening up additional skiing terrain in the eastern Burnt Mountain pod and replacement of the Big Burn chairlift or Sheer Bliss chairlift. The Burnt Mountain pod would include a lower Burnt Mountain traverse to facilitate skier egress onto the lower section of the Long Shot ski trail and down to the base of the Two Creeks lift. The Big Burn chairlift or the Sheer Bliss chairlift would be replaced with a newer technology, high-speed lift system. The draft EA is available for review on a CD and can be picked up or requested from the Aspen Ranger District at 806 W. Hallam, Aspen, CO 81611. Written comments on the draft EA should be sent to the Aspen Ranger District no later than Aug. 24, 2005.For more information on the draft EA, contact Jim Stark at 925-3445 or jstark@fs.fed.us. Castle Creek Road paving setSmall sections of Castle Creek Road, between Aspen Valley Hospital and Conundrum Creek Road, will be paved on Monday, Aug. 1, according to the Pitkin County Public Works Department.One lane will be closed, and drivers can expect 10- to 20-minute delays. Motorists are asked to use caution when traveling in this area during the project, and bicyclists are advised to use an alternate route.For more information, call 920-5390.