State gives funding boost to highway-widening work
The Colorado Transportation Commission agreed this week to add $13 million to the budget for work on straightening and widening Highway 82 through Snowmass Canyon.
The budget supplement ensures the work will continue as planned. When the bids for the 3.4-mile segment were opened earlier this month, the lowest proffer was about $6.5 million over the $93.4 million the Colorado Department of Transportation had originally planned to spend.
“This additional funding makes it clear that the Transportation Commission is committed to improving the Highway 82 corridor,” said commission chairman Doug Aden.
“As one of the state’s 28 strategic projects, it’s critical that we move forward as soon as possible on Snowmass Canyon. The commission had budgeted $186 million to reconstruct the highway [between Basalt and Buttermilk] – now we’ve committed nearly $200 million.”
The press release from CDOT announcing the Transportation Commission’s decision promises that the state will work closely with project contractor Ames Construction to lower the costs.
“It’s called value engineering,” said CDOT resident engineer Joe Elsen. “When we do that, we achieve the same or better quality and the same level of service. But we may use different materials or techniques – there’s always a different way to skin a cat.”
The Snowmass Canyon project was originally scheduled to begin in 2001, but work has started this year because of the additional highway funding approved by voters last fall.
Utility relocation is already under way in the canyon, and construction on the detour route on the other side of the Roaring Fork River is scheduled to start in the next few weeks. Work on the upvalley lanes through the canyon is expected to begin next spring.
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