This letter was initially addressed to the Colorado Department of Transportation, Aspen city council Pitkin County commissioners.
Admittedly I am neither an engineer, road expert, nor expert planner, but I am a 40-year resident who lives on Maroon Creek Road, and thus travels through the Aspen roundabout several times a day, and I have to say the conditions there are appalling: worse than I have ever seen before. Those potholes are eating cars’ suspensions/tires, and most embarrassingly, as the entrance to Aspen, are disgracing our community and our beloved guests with shoddy workmanship and dangerous conditions. It is near impossible to merge to Aspen from Castle Creek or Maroon Creek road now that the roundabout is scarcely half a lane, putting most importantly our students and children at risk, since that is where our schools are.
While the asphalt is disintegrating all over town, it is especially bad anywhere cars turn, or weight unevenly, which includes the roundabout, the S curves, and every major intersection. The S Curves were recently concreted, and they are the only pieces of road holding up. While concrete is much more expensive than asphalt, it has proven to last so much longer (if applied at a proper depth). As disruptive and dangerous as it is to keep stopping traffic for repairs in these key areas, I beg you to consider concreting instead of another patching job, which is so ineffective with our high traffic levels, heavy bus/truck traffic, and freeze/thaw conditions. Carbondale asphalted both Main Street and Eighth street some 40 years ago, and has needed virtually no maintenance to date. They did that when it was a cow town and coal town, and had hardly any funds. Surely Aspen can do better.
I get that the multi-agency responsibility makes it terribly complicated because nobody wants to use their budget when somebody else might have some jurisdiction or responsibility, but as a taxpayer, from where I sit, it is terribly frustrating to pay state, county, and city tax, and have CDOT, City of Aspen, and Pitkin County pass the buck on Highway 82 maintenance through Aspen. I also get that at 8,000 feet, the weather conditions make for a higher failure rate than other areas, including Carbondale, but if there is an option with a lower failure rate, I don’t get why everyone wouldn’t employ the solution that might mean fewer episodes of stopping traffic for the bi-annual patch. Please, please do it right this time. Don’t patch it, concrete it.
Aspen, CO 81611