Aspen has a world-class lack of common sense |

Aspen has a world-class lack of common sense

Whoever approved the use of asphalt paving at the Aspen roundabout should have been fired. Vehicles in a roundabout exert lateral as well as vertical forces on the pavement. All you skiers and boarders should know that — when you are making ruts and moguls. Concrete works where they land 747s. Concrete strength increases by the square of its thickness. Make it a foot thick at least. Think a rocket launch pad.

But before you touch the Aspen roundabout, put roundabouts at Smith Road and Juniper Hill, and at 82 and Brush Creek, and at Cemetery Lane. Smith Road intersection should be called “The Killing Fields.”

The proposed Aspen roundabout project, with seven months of delays and driving on back roads, is the definition of insanity. (Building hundreds of living units at the lumberyard is another form of insanity.)

Re-envision the roundabout as much bigger. Build temporary roads around it to keep traffic flowing. Bulldoze out everything you don’t need. Trees can be put back. Rebuild one side, north or south, while two opposing lanes of traffic are still going on the other side. Then switch over and finish. I saw much more difficult things done in Glenwood Canyon where they shoehorned in I-70.

This thing should last for decades. Or, at least until climate change stops all the snow and Aspen goes back to being a ghost town. Not to mention the world economy falling apart with global warming and more pandemics.

As for traffic coming into Aspen, the problem is not a lack of roads; it is too damn many vehicles. Aspen and the valley have oversold and overbuilt. By the way, the “lumberyard housing” is on the wrong side of the roundabout. This is a “world-class” (as is always attached to the word “Aspen”) lack of common sense.

Patrick Hunter


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