Pitkin County weighs in on plan for El Jebel intersection
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
ASPEN – Pitkin County isn’t ready to put money into the reworking of a major El Jebel intersection, county commissioners agreed Tuesday.
The intersection is actually in Eagle County, but Pitkin County has the ability to construct as much as 5,900 square feet of space for its use on adjacent property and therefore has a stake in what transpires there.
Eagle County representatives sought Pitkin County’s endorsement of the plan to realign the intersection and welcomed a contribution to the $200,000 design phase for the project. They received neither.
Some commissioners indicated that a contribution would be appropriate if and when Pitkin County decides to build something at Crown Mountain Park, where Eagle County already has a government building.
Regarding the proposal to realign East and West Valley roads, connecting them with a new intersection set farther away from Highway 82, commissioners either praised Eagle County for tackling the project or panned it as a response to a proposed recreation center at Crown Mountain that doesn’t yet have financing approval from voters or land-use approval from Eagle County.
“It seems like the tail is wagging the dog,” said Commissioner George Newman, who also objected to the use of open space at the park to reroute Valley Road on the opposite side of the Eagle County building.
“It’s mostly driven by one entity and the voters haven’t said yes,” Commissioner Jack Hatfield agreed. “That’s going to be a significant vote in the midvalley.”
Traffic growth in the area – the side-road intersection in question is near what’s generally known as the Wendy’s stoplight on Highway 82 – drives the need for improvements regardless of the Crown Mountain Recreation District’s plans, countered consultant Matt Brown of Stolfus Inc.
“The analysis suggests the existing configuration will not work in the long term,” he said.
Owsley agreed, calling the current road alignment a “hazard to life and safety.”
The Crown Mountain Recreation District and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority already have agreed to help fund the intersection design work. RFTA plans to build a new parking lot and transit stop adjacent to the new intersection.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.