Roundabout gets green light |

Roundabout gets green light

Jeremy Heiman

Pitkin County has approved an emergency resolution to spend $6.4 million on construction of a traffic roundabout on Highway 82 at the Maroon Creek intersection.

The city of Aspen kicked in $1.9 million of the total amount.

The county commissioners, with Patti Clapper and Shellie Harper absent, voted unanimously Thursday to provide the funds, allowing the work to start as early as next Tuesday. The largest share of the money, $5.45 million, will go to a contract with Gould Construction, the lead contractor on the job.

The Colorado Department of Transportation may eventually reimburse the county and city of Aspen for up to $4.8 million of the amount, though there is no guarantee. The city and county, in the form of the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, agreed May 20 to proceed with funding for the project without the guarantee of reimbursement.

Besides the city funds, another $1.9 million comes from a county fund for Highway 82 construction, more than $1.6 million from the county’s use tax and nearly $1 million from fees paid by developers.

The commissioners also approved a contract with MK Centennial for construction management on the project, worth about $300,000, and funding for relocation of utilities at the site, to reimburse Holy Cross Energy, Aspen Sanitation District and TCI Cable.

Also necessary for the project to get under way was an agreement with CDOT on the possession and use of the Mills property, over 31 acres of land that CDOT agreed to trade for 1.5 acres of the Moore Open Space. That open-space land was taken through condemnation by CDOT for a transit stop at the intersection.

The Mills property is located immediately west and north of the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road, and now holds construction trailers, equipment and materials.

Mark Gould, present at Thursday’s special meeting of the county commissioners, said his company would begin to place traffic control signs today and will start construction Tuesday.

County Public Works Director Stan Berryman said utility relocations would be the first phase of the project, with electrical lines to be buried on the north side of the intersection and sewer lines moved from the south to the north side.

A temporary paved road will be built to the south of the present highway, to accommodate traffic while construction proceeds, Berryman said. No traffic stops will occur between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and 3:30 and 6 p.m., he said. But some delays are bound to occur with a project of this size.

“I don’t want to give anybody the impression that with major construction like this there won’t be any delays,” Berryman said. “But when it’s finished, this will be a major improvement.”

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