News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Basalt honors rancher Billy GrangeBASALT One of the last ranchers in the Roaring Fork Valley was honored by the Basalt Town Council this week for conserving nearly 250 acres on the edge of town.The council presented Billy Grange with a proclamation thanking him and his family for preserving the rural buffer around town. The Grange familys contribution to the Roaring Fork Valley will preserve open space for future generations, the proclamation said. The town is a better place for the remarkable generosity of Billy Grange, it later added.Grange, his sister-in-law Tina and Tinas four children were regularly pestered by developers hoping to buy the land. They decided instead to sell one small parcel and sell conservation easements on a larger chunk of land to Basalt, Eagle County and Pitkin County.The governments acquired 16.6 acres of wetlands and Roaring Fork River frontage on the north side of Highway 82.They also purchased conservation easements on 187 acres of the cattle ranch, just downvalley from Big O Tires. A second phase of the deal will place conservation easements on 44 acres south of the Rio Grande Trail into the hands of the governments.The purchase of land and conservation easements totaled $5 million.The Granges can continue ranching the land south of Highway 82 for as long as they want. Billys grandfather, Joseph, settled on the property in 1916 after immigrating from Italy. Billys nephews are fourth-generation ranchers.The Granges can improve two existing homes and develop a third residence. Otherwise, the development potential is extinguished.

Entrance to Carbondale to close Monday nightCARBONDALE Carbondale will be a little more secluded than usual for a short time Monday night, Dec. 17.The main entrance road on Highway 133 will be closed from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for construction related to the widening of the bridge over the Roaring Fork River, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. The closure is needed so a crane can use the existing bridge to set forms on one of the new pier caps.CDOT and contractor SEMA Construction have scheduled this work during a low volume traffic period at night to avoid closing this critical intersection during the daytime peak traffic periods, a statement from the transportation department said. Additional, periodic night closures of the Roaring Fork River Bridge will be required throughout the project to allow for safe bridge construction while minimizing impacts to motorists.Motorists traveling upvalley should use Garfield County Roads 154 and 109, the route south of Aspen Glen. Motorists traveling downvalley should enter town via Garfield County Road 100, Catherine Store Road. Electronic message signs and detour signs will alert motorists to the alternative routes.Traffic impacts are anticipated to be minimal for the majority of the project but alternate routes are advised for those who want to avoid the delays, CDOTs statement said. The current two-lane traffic configuration, one lane each direction, at the Highway 133 Roaring Fork River bridge will be maintained throughout the project with minor traffic shifts at the approaches to the bridge and occasional alternating single-lane traffic during nonpeak periods.