Basalt’s new underpass takes shape

Jul 9, 2017

Credit Aspen Public Radio

Several on Basalt’s Town Council toured the new underpass Thursday. The project is responsible for all the construction at the intersection of Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue.

The project is ahead of schedule, and the new town manager, Ryan Mahoney, wanted council members to see the progress.


At the end of the tour, they joked about holding a concert in the underpass when it’s finished, which would be quite a change from sounds the community has heard since the project began last fall.


The construction team has brought in 175 truckloads of concrete, laid about a mile of conduit and installed around 300,000 pounds of reinforcing steel.


None of this is unique to Basalt’s new underpass, but what is unique is what the engineers call the “battleship bathtub.” About 3 to 4 feet below the walkway, there’s a 50-foot-wide slab of concrete, nearly 20 inches thick. It serves as a counterweight to hold down the water and dirt that would otherwise be pushed up.


Basalt’s Mayor, Jacque Whitsitt, asked the question at least one person asks at some point during a construction project: “When will the project be done?”


The team expects the underpass to be fully functional by Aug. 31 and completed by Oct. 20.


On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights of this week, the underpass will open temporarily, as the construction team will be putting up the new traffic signals on the intersection.