The heat is on Highway 82 |

The heat is on Highway 82

No, you’re not paranoid. There really are more law officers patrolling the Highway 82 corridor.And they’re not going anywhere for a while.In an effort to reduce accidents, the Colorado State Patrol is in the midst of a year-long effort to step up enforcement on the highway.Injury wrecks between Aspen and Glenwood Springs leapt 65 percent in 2005, compared to the previous year. Accidents overall were up 33 percent, according to patrol statistics.Highway 82 was not among the 12 Colorado highways and interstates designated as dangerous by the state patrol.But a statistical analysis showed that the stretch between Basalt and Brush Creek Road is dangerous enough to warrant special attention from the state patrol’s Glenwood Springs office.”We’re going to try to focus on reducing injury and fatal crashes,” said Capt. Richard Duran. “Part of that would be (with) more of the high-visibility enforcement with state troopers up in that area more often.”DUI checkpoints and other deterrents could be possible this summer, as well.”We may consider something like that up in Pitkin County,” Duran said.The increased enforcement will intensify around holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.The state patrol studied accident statistics from various segments of the roads in its jurisdiction in deciding where to focus enforcement. On Highway 82, the stretch between Holland Hills and Cozy Point is particularly troubling, Duran said.”That was one of the areas in which we had a higher number of injury accidents,” he said.Duran said a prior enforcement campaign reduced injury accidents on a different stretch of Highway 82 in Garfield County. The highway’s problem spot is now related to Snowmass Canyon.Since 2004, when the construction of four lanes through the canyon was completed, drivers’ speed has steadily increased in the 50-mph stretch.”So we adjusted our resources and are focusing our attention more upvalley,” Duran said. “We encourage people to pay attention, obey the speed limits and be aware that the state patrol will be working up in that area more often.”

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