Basalt will invest $444,000 to calm speeding drivers in Willits |

Basalt will invest $444,000 to calm speeding drivers in Willits

Plastic chicanes are being used with limited effect to slow traffic down on East Valley Road in Willits. The council approved a $444,000 contract to install advanced traffic calming.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

Basalt will invest nearly $444,000 to try to slow traffic down on East Valley Road as it leaves Willits Town Center and enters the residential area.

The project features narrowing the width of the road between Valley Court and Lake Court. Plastic chicanes that create a slalom effect on the road will be removed. Curb and gutter with grass will be extended from the west side of the road where the linear park is located. Colored concrete will be extended on the east side of the road.

Willits residents have expressed concerns for years about traffic whizzing through their neighborhood after vehicles leave the commercial area. Some people considered the chicanes a half-hearted solution.

The traffic calming efforts also will include several new pedestrian crossings made of colored concrete at street level along East Valley Road. There also will be a feature to check speed south of the Evans Road intersection.

The council voted 7-0 to approve a contract with United Companies, a Grand Junction firm that was one of three to bid on the project. The company earned praise from town officials for its construction last year of the pedestrian underpass of Highway 82 at Basalt Avenue.

In addition to the traffic calming, the project will include milling the old surface of East Valley Road and putting down an overlay and an additional $9,500 for repairing concrete. The total cost, including a contingency of as much as $15,000, is $516,671.

The Willits Town Center commercial development will cover $200,000 of the expense. A real estate transfer assessment applied to sales in Willits and an impact fee will cover most of the remaining expense.

The project will start in July and finish in mid-October.

In other council action Tuesday night:

• The board voted 7-0 to sign onto an amicus brief in a lawsuit going before the Colorado Supreme Court regarding oil and gas regulation. Martinez vs. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission tried to force the commission to make sure any oil and gas development it approves is “consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources,” according to a memo to the council. Boulder County prepared the amicus brief and asked other governments to join. So far the city and county of Boulder, San Miguel County, Gunnison County, Erie, Longmont and Layfayette have signed on as well as Basalt.

“The conversation we will get out of it will be super useful,” Councilman Auden Schendler said.

• The council voted 7-0 to approve the second reading of an ordinance approving construction of three residential units on the second story of an existing industrial building at 11 Duroux Ln. The owner plans to build two two-bedroom units at 1,040 square feet each and one one-bedroom unit at 580 square feet.

• The council voted 7-0 to approve second reading of an ordinance that will allow retirees to live in 12 units Pitkin County is building in the Basalt Vista affordable-housing project by Basalt High School. Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority regulations allow retirees to live in units. Basalt’s regulations require retirees to live in affordable housing only if they perform a certain number of volunteer hours for a nonprofit per year. The council waived the requirement since the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority will manage the 12 units. Basalt Vista also has 15 units that will be owned by Roaring Fork School District. The school district will force owners to sell their units upon retirement.

The project is a collaboration between Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork, Pitkin County and the Roaring Fork School District. Groundbreaking could be in mid-May, Habitat President Scott Gilbert said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the design of the new pedestrian crosswalks. They will be colored concrete at street level.