CDOT delays Highway 82 paving to August ‘at request of Aspen Institute’

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times
Signs along Highway 82 before the entrance to the Aspen warn drivers of upcoming potholes.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

At the request of the Aspen Institute, the Colorado Department of Transportation has delayed its Highway 82 repavement to sometime during the first two weeks of August, a CDOT spokesperson said Thursday.

The project, aimed at alleviating Aspen’s growing pothole problem on Highway 82 near the S-curve coming into town, was initially slated for June 26 and 27, which overlaps with the Institute’s annual nine-day Aspen Ideas Festival.

“They said the Ideas Festival would make it pretty tough for them to accommodate [their visitors],” CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said Thursday. “We heard pretty loud and clear from the Aspen Institute.”

Calls to the Aspen Institute on Thursday were not returned.

While Trulove acknowledged the project’s inconvenience on drivers in Aspen, she said CDOT “has such a short window of time” to conduct such work.

“We recognize that it’s impactful, but obviously having it repaired is going to make a lot of people happy,” Trulove said.

She also noted the high volume of heated phone calls to CDOT regarding the pothole problem in Aspen.

“A lot of people are calling and complaining about the potholes,” Trulove said. “I just took one yesterday.”

The CDOT spokeswoman said scheduling projects is “a challenge for these very tourism-driven” mountain towns with busy summer calendars.

She cited a similar situation currently with a CDOT project in Steamboat Springs.

Compounding the dilemma, Trulove added, is that CDOT owns only one paving machine that must be shared statewide.

“We have a limited window of opportunity to have the paving machine that CDOT owns in the region,” she said.

Trulove said Thursday that CDOT is “waiting to hear from the city of Aspen” to set an exact date on the project, which will last four days, as opposed to two days as previously stated by the city.

The city of Aspen is still looking at dates, city of Aspen spokeswoman Mitzi Rapkin said Thursday.

The repaving will be complete prior to the start of Grand Avenue Bridge work Aug. 14, Trulove stated.

As part of the plan, CDOT will repave areas along the S-curves and potholes in front of the Hickory House, she said.

Beyond that, Trulove said it is “premature” to locate others areas for repaving, identify possible detours throughout the four-day project or speculate finances.

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