Paepcke Transit Hub on hold due to lack of workers
City of Aspen receives no bids on $1.65M project that will improve second busiest bus stop in town
Improvements to the second busiest bus stop in Aspen planned for this fall are delayed due to no contractors bidding on the project.
The Paepcke Transit Hub includes a bus shelter on Main Street and a new pull-off for buses on Garmisch Street.
But those improvements will have to wait until at least next spring, because of the lingering effects of the pandemic and a nationwide labor shortage.
Mike Horvath, project manager for the city of Aspen, said contractors told him that they are not available because they are short-staffed and materials are difficult to obtain due to a disrupted supply chain.
In addition, subcontractors also are unavailable due to a backlog of work they are facing.
“Nothing will get done this year,” Horvath said of the project. “Our plan is to rebid it in the fall for the summer.”
The city opened the bidding process June 18, and there was not one response in a month’s time.
Typically for a project this size, the city will get at least one bid, Horvath said.
“We were a little surprised, but it’s a poor bidding market right now,” he said.
The project is budgeted at $1.65 million, with $800,000 in grants from the Colorado Department of Transportation and another $100,000 from other entities.
There’s a possibility the costs could rise due to construction inflation or COVID-19 effects, but Horvath said he hopes that giving contractors lead time by bidding in the fall for work next summer will negate that.
When the project does begin, the major improvements at the outbound bus stop across from Paepcke Park on Main Street are planned to create a safer, more comfortable location.
It will include a bus shelter that could fit as many as 30 people, as well as real-time transit signage and other amenities.
Currently that bus stop, which serves all outbound buses, has just a three-person bench and a trash can.
The Main Street pedestrian crossing at Garmisch Street will get an upgrade, as it’s one of the busiest non-signaled crossings in the city.
Pedestrians are required to cross five lanes of traffic on Main Street and loading buses and vehicles can impair visibility, according to city officials.
The project also will feature a pull-off area on Garmisch just south of the Mollie Gibson Lodge and alley that will allow people to disembark and step onto a sidewalk that will lead to them to a mid-block pedestrian crossing, as well as one at Hopkins Avenue or Main Street.
Currently, the bus comes to a stop in the street at the lodge’s parking lot, and people disembarking must step onto the street and then walk across to catch a sidewalk.