Snowy weather snarls traffic |

Snowy weather snarls traffic

Naomi Havlen and Allyn Harvey
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Two accidents on the Maroon Creek bridge Monday morning snarled rush-hour traffic on Highway 82 in and out of Aspen.

Aspen police said a three-car accident around 9 a.m. caused traffic to back up around the bridge. That wreck was immediately followed by a two-car crash. No one was hurt in either accident.

Community Safety Officer Kimberly Hay said a car towing a boat may have caused the first accident. Witnesses said the trailer may not have had operating brake lights, so a white sedan apparently stopped short on the bridge to avoid the trailer.

Hay said the white sedan left the scene, but a vehicle just behind the sedan swerved into the bridge’s guard rail, and a third car rear-ended that car. She said traffic was slowed considerably to get a tow truck onto the bridge.

The slow traffic led to a second accident on the icy bridge, she said. Traffic coming in and out of Aspen alternated using the one lane left over while the tow truck helped with both accidents.

“There’s nowhere to pull off to avoid the car in front of you on the bridge, so it’s important to be cautious about traffic on the bridge,” she said.

In addition, the light at Truscott Place slows traffic coming upvalley on the bridge, so drivers should make sure there is enough space between cars.

On Monday morning traffic was at times backed up west of the Aspen Business Center because of the accidents. Brian Slattery at the Aspen Water Department said Aspen received 7 inches of snow Monday morning, more than half of which was on the ground by 8:30 a.m.

Problem traffic lights may have also been a factor. One upvalley commuter who reached town at about 10:40 a.m. reported that the light at the Truscott housing/municipal golf course was changing every 90 seconds or so, despite the fact that there was no traffic waiting to enter the highway.

Additionally, the commuter said, the traffic light would go through its entire cycle, stopping traffic on Highway 82 for the “ghost” vehicle at Truscott, then kept traffic at a standstill while the left turn signals that allow traffic to turn off the highway came on. Again, there were no vehicles waiting to make a left turn.

The commuter reported witnessing this cycle occur at least three times as he crossed the Maroon Creek bridge and then continued to the roundabout. The commuter said once he cleared the Truscott light, the road was clear of heavy traffic all the way into town.

Police denied that the Truscott light was causing problems. Assistant City Manager Randy Ready did not return a call seeking comment.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

[Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is]

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