Summer roundabout project a cause for concern |

Summer roundabout project a cause for concern

This summer’s planned Highway 82 and Aspen traffic circle renovation is making me worried, based on the press reporting.

What concerns me is that the traffic disruption has not been thoroughly studied and that the plan has not been adequately communicated to the public. Aspen and Pitkin County officials should consider postponing the traffic mayhem for another year to gain time for a new Aspen transportation director to get on top of it.

With thousands of visitors and workers streaming into and out of Aspen through the roundabout during the planned repair period, June to October, the disruption is immediate.

Waiting a year will also provide time for a through public education and outreach campaign, which so far is lacking.

What happened to the $100,000 consultant’s study proposed to Aspen in 2019 on traffic patterns in advance of Colorado Department of Transportation’s 2022 work on Highway 82?

“Obtaining holistic data on traffic congesting in the roundabout will lead to better decisions for any modifications that can be made during the 2022 concrete replacement project,” said a city project manager in a memo to the Aspen City Council.

If the study, or similar ones have been performed, why have the results not been communicated to the public? Do Aspen and Pitkin County officials even know the carrying capacity of the proposed, voluntary Smith Hill Way detour to Cemetery Lane?

Nothing on the city’s transportation website reveals anything about the plan, just six months away.

The Aspen City Council granted $76,000 for a traffic study of a planned affordable-housing complex and $150,000 for public education and outreach on the historic Entrance to Aspen decision. It should make a similar investment for the roundabout redo.

I am uneasy, maybe you should be too.

Bernard Grauer