Starting today, there’s roadwork on Highway 82, either on Main Street in Aspen or between the roundabout and the airport. It’s a paving project during Aspen’s busiest month for car traffic at the entrance to the resort community. This July there’s an average of 27,000 cars coming in or out of town each day
“It’s horrible,” says Mark Weinhold, on a rainy Friday morning. He’s pulling into the Rio Grande Parking Garage, and says lots of cars on the highway means scarce parking in Aspen. “And I’m doing deliveries in town,” he continues, “I have to deliver to twenty different restaurants.” So Weinhold ends up schlepping around heavy produce boxes on foot.
Starting today, the trip into town will be even slower. CDOT workers will be on eastbound Highway 82, between 7th and Garmisch Streets. That’ll last for one day. Then, tomorrow and Wednesday, CDOT switches to outbound 82, between Aspen’s roundabout and the airport. Drivers will have to use the bus lane to make room for paving.
“The tricky part for us is we have a limited amount of equipment that we move throughout the region to do these kinds of maintenance patching jobs,” says Tracy Trulove, CDOT’s spokesperson for the area. The agency shares machinery with fourteen other counties, making scheduling difficult. And there’s the weather factor. “We really have to get in and work in Aspen when we can,” says Trulove, “because we all know that at any point, winter could come early.”
At the Rio Grande parking garage on Friday, Mark Weinhold says he’s tried coming into Aspen at different times, to beat the traffic. “I do this every week and it’s just-- pick a day, it’s always the same,” he shakes his head. And it might take longer this week, with three days of roadwork by CDOT.