Work on 82 ahead of schedule |

Work on 82 ahead of schedule

Allyn Harvey

A mild winter thus far has allowed construction crews on the Highway 82 four-laning project to get ahead of schedule at both sections currently under construction – Holland Hills and Shale Bluffs.

Ralph Trapani, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s top engineer on the project, told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday that the winter has so far been very kind.

“Holland Hills is going well,” Trapani said, “but I’m not willing to make any predictions about when it will be finished until winter goes away.”

“And Shale Bluffs is going very well,” he added. “We poured concrete – the second bridge deck – Saturday, which is unprecedented in Aspen in February.”

Trapani updated the commissioners on current and upcoming work on the highway. The state is in the midst of turning the two-lane road between Basalt and Aspen into a four-lane, separated highway.

Trapani spent most of his hour with the commissioners discussing the Aspen Airport Business Center-to-Buttermilk section. Work there is scheduled to begin in August.

The first step will be to relocate the Owl Creek Road intersection further east, toward Buttermilk. A traffic light will be added at the new intersection, which will handle traffic bound for the ski area parking lot, homes in West Buttermilk and motorists on Owl Creek.

In addition to left turn lanes and a new entrance to the Buttermilk ski area, the traffic light is expected to make crossing the highway safer. The new signal will allow pedestrians to cross safely, and the Roaring Fork Transit Agency plans to move the bus stops next to the new crosswalk.

The Holland Hills portion of the highway project is scheduled to wrap up on Oct. 1, though contractor Kiewit Western has been offered an incentive to finish early. The Shale Bluffs section is not scheduled to be finished until next year.

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