potholes

A pothole has reduced a section of the Highway 82 roundabout to one lane. A permanent fix will not be available until April, as pressure mounts for a better long-term solution.

A permanent fix is a month away or more for the monster potholes pockmarking the roundabout at the entrance to Aspen, but city of Aspen and Colorado Department of Transportation crews are in the roadway multiple times per day applying temporary fill and trying to alleviate the impacts to drivers.

The prominent potholes on the state-managed highway were heavy on the minds of the public and city officials at the beginning of Monday’s Aspen City Council meeting. Resident Mike Maple said it’s high time the roundabout was redone with concrete, which is more durable to winter weather conditions and constant plowing than asphalt.

Councilman Ward Hauenstein said he thinks that Maple’s suggestions is quickly becoming a consensus position among drivers.

Hauenstein also joked that conspiracy theorists may suggest that the potholes are a plot cooked up by tire dealers and auto-repair shops.

In fact, the wet weather and heavy traffic volumes are to blame.

Filling the potholes with new asphalt is not possible until April, city engineer Trish Aragon said, because the material cannot be manufactured or applied until temperatures warm.

In the meantime, CDOT is planning to bring in a new patching material by next week that it hopes will have better results.

Right now, city crews — working on the state highway in partnership with CDOT — are out three three to four times a day repairing the pothole, according to a city press release.

“Once a hot asphalt treatment becomes available in April, the city will work with CDOT to apply this fix, which will be more successful long-term,” the press release says. “CDOT, the jurisdiction ultimately responsible for this stretch of Highway 82, will also bring in equipment spring/summer to mill and overlay the roundabout.”

As for the concrete solution, no details were revealed at Monday’s meeting about the cost or whether such an effort is in long-term plans.

“The city and CDOT thank drivers for their patience,” the press release says.

Curtis Wackerle is the editor of Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at curtis@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @CurtisWackerle.

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