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Funding for road, crossing improvements proposed

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Several road-improvement projects will be considered for the 2014 budget following the June 17 Snowmass Village Town Council meeting.

Public Works Director Hunt Walker submitted a proposed schedule for replacing the Highline Road roundabout apron, making pedestrian improvements at Mountain View and the Faraway/Brush Creek road crossing and installing a mini-roundabout at the Owl Creek/Brush Creek road intersection. All the projects but the mini-roundabout will now be included in either the 2013 supplemental or 2014 budget, which the council will consider this fall.

At Highline Road, the proposed improvements would raise the center apron by 2 inches and slightly widen the center island, according to a memo from Walker.

“The raised apron is only utilized by buses and oversized vehicles, which also serves to slow passenger cars and trucks traveling through the roundabout,” the memo states.

Eighty-six thousand dollars is being budgeted for the project, but Walker told the council on June 17 that some of the work could be done by town employees, so the cost won’t go above that. Construction could take about three to five weeks and could call for some road closures.

The next project discussed would make crossing Brush Creek Road at Faraway Road, where there are two bus stops, much safer for pedestrians. Walker told the officials that the asphalt in that area was still in good condition, so they could opt to wait until that also needs repairs to make the improvements.

“The pedestrian improvements at that intersection I think are really important, and maybe it’s worth that cost,” Walker said.

The officials agreed it should be included in the 2014 budget, with a cost of $215,000.

“Staff can put it in the 2014 budget, and you can revisit it,” Walker said.

Walker also proposed signage and stripes at the Mountain View crossing on Brush Creek Road, which would cost less than $20,000. Walker told the officials they could pursue more extensive improvements, but they declined.

“I think this is an adequate first step,” Councilman Jason Haber said.

Walker proposed that the improvements at Mountain View be done in the fall. Councilman Chris Jacobson questioned why the town would wait.

“I think it would be a benefit for summer,” he said.

Haber pointed out that the paint stripes would be scraped off by snowplows right after they were put down in the fall.

The council also discussed in depth Walker’s proposal for a mini-roundabout at Owl Creek and Brush Creek roads. The design would stay close to where the existing asphalt is, as opposed to a full-size roundabout, which would have more of an impact and be much more costly.

The mini-roundabout would cost less than $200,000 if the grade at the site was flat, Walker said. Because the grade would have to be brought down from 6 percent to 4 percent, the estimated cost of the project is $1.5 million.

“You’re telling me you’re adding almost a million dollars to this project because of the grading,” Councilman Fred Kucker said. “As an extensive user, I’m telling you I’ve never had a problem.”

Lee Barger, an engineer with Schmueser Gordon Meyer Inc. who is working on the project, said the grade primarily affects large vehicles and buses. Barger also said that on a steep incline, some cars might not be able to stop, especially if drivers are braking on icy roads.

Transportation Director David Peckler also pointed out that vehicles have to yield to traffic inside the roundabout.

“In a modern roundabout, … every approach has to be able to come to a full and complete stop,” Peckler said.

The mini-roundabout is not funded by the road fund now, Walker said. He suggested the town could borrow money from the excise tax or general funds and repay it over the next few years.

Kucker suggested possibly extending the mill levy that now goes toward Snowmass Village’s chunk of the Droste property purchase in order to repay money borrowed for the project.

Town Manager Russ Forrest suggested the officials discuss the use of that tax in the future. He also pointed out that they should consider the timing of construction there with that of the Wood and Brush Creek road roundabout, which Related Cos. is required to complete as owner of Base Village.

Other issues

The Town Council approved two funding requests that the Marketing, Special Events & Group Sales Board approved during its June 6 meeting — $112,700 for USA Pro Challenge expenses and an additional $45,000 contribution to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival. Both will come out of the town marketing fund.

The council approved hiring an outside consultant to help create a community survey at a cost of $10,300 in 2013. Six thousand dollars will be appropriated from the community relations contract services budget. In the future, the cost of the survey, estimated at $7,300 in future years, will be absorbed by the community relations budget. Director of Communications Kelly Vaughn assured the officials that the method would be secure, something they were concerned with when she proposed the plan on June 3.

jbeathard@snowmasssun.com


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