Some straight answers | AspenTimes.com

Some straight answers

Lenir Drake’s recent letter to the editor asks for “straight answers” regarding to the Entrance to Aspen. Although I appreciate her concern about the impact of the project on the 8th Street neighborhood, I also believe that her letter significantly misrepresents the scope and cost of the proposed project.

The letter in question states, “$60 million for a half-mile (which means $120 million per mile!).”

The actual project estimate is $62.1 million, including $38.4 million for the cut and cover tunnel and $23.7 million for the Maroon Creek Bridge replacement and approaches to that bridge. Is Lenir Drake opposed to the replacement of the Maroon Creek Bridge, a 100-year-old structure in constant need of repair and resurfacing?

The Friends of Marolt also reiterate Lenir Drake’s claim about the cost of the project, stating in a letter published Wednesday, “At a projected cost of over $60 million for about one mile, CDOT’s Entrance to Aspen is one of the most expensive and unnecessary projects in the state…”

Again, the mile in question has been estimated at $38.4 million. While that is a significant sum, the Entrance actually ranks dead last on the list of 11 unfunded 7th Pot projects recently recommended by the State Transportation Advisor Committee. The average project on that list is estimated at $435 million with some expected to cost more than $1 billion.

Finally, average daily traffic through the S-curves is off less than 1 percent thus far in 2002 compared to 1993. Let the debate go forward grounded in facts rather than hyperbole and conjecture.

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Mick Ireland

Pitkin County Commissioner

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