No matter the name, it will work | AspenTimes.com

No matter the name, it will work

[“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” ? William Shakespeare, “Romeo & Juliet”] It is commonly called the “Straight Shot,” but it is not straight, although it is a more direct route into Aspen. It’s official name is the “Modified Direct Alignment,” but the slightly curved road that will be built from the roundabout to 7th and Main Street is only part of the Entrance to Aspen project. There are other crucial aspects of this project that are important to the community and require that the voters of Aspen support the so-called “Modified Direct Alignment” on Nov. 5. Highway 82 currently crosses two aging bridges as it nears and enters Aspen. The Maroon Creek Bridge is over 110 years old. The Castle Creek Bridge was refurbished over 40 years ago. In fact, the Maroon Creek Bridge was originally used for rail traffic, and neither bridge was ever designed to accommodate the current level of traffic. Thus, they both will need to be replaced in the very near future. However, CDOT is likely not going to replace them unless it is part of the greater Entrance to Aspen project. First, how do we replace the Castle Creek Bridge without diverting traffic on Power Plant Road for several months? No, the only sensible way is to build a new bridge joining 7th and Main Street with the new “Modified Direct Alignment.”Second, obviously the Maroon Creek Bridge needs to be replaced, too, sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, again, it will likely not be built except as part of the ETA project, and it too must be built next to the old bridge. These two bridges, in total dollars, are actually the largest part of the Entrance project, and that alone is reason to support the modified direct over the S-curve alignment. Finally, when the “Straight Shot,” or “Modified Direct Alignment,” is being built there will be little or no disruption of traffic on the current Highway 82. Once it is finished we can “cut a ribbon” and use our new bridges. Call it “Straight,” call it “Modified,” but by any other name this new entrance will be safer, more efficient and more reliable. Please vote for this necessary project on Nov. 5. Thank you. Tony HersheyAspen City Councilman