For a second time in two weeks, Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday argued against proposed route options for a circuit race between Aspen and Snowmass Village during this year’s USA Pro Challenge cycling race.
The 21-mile preferred route, which racers would make five laps on, would shut down Highway 82, Brush Creek, Owl Creek and McLain Flats roads.
Commissioners raised the issue during an update on the bike race at a joint work session with Aspen City Council.
Commissioner Steve Child said he thinks there are ways to make the race work between Aspen and Snowmass, but he doesn’t want to see those roads shut down for five hours. Rolling street closures could help solve the problem, he said.
Commissioner George Newman argued that even with rolling street closures, none of the proposed routes would work.
“On top of concerns about public safety, you’re talking about a work day in the summer time and the whole work force … will be severely impacted,” Newman said.
The local economy is still recovering from the Great Recession and stopping traffic into town for even 20 minutes could back up cars for miles, he said. That will ultimately impact local businesses, he said.
Nancy Lesley, director of special events for the city of Aspen, said she is currently trying to incorporate commissioners’ comments into new route suggestions.
“We are trying to do our absolute due diligence to take in every one of your concerns,” Lesley said. “We want to create a successful event and it has to be successful for all of us.”
New routes will be proposed in a March 12 board meeting.