The valley’s biggest problem on the roads Wednesday was not the delays associated with the Grand Avenue Bridge detour, but unfortunately was a fatal traffic accident on westbound I-70 a few miles past Silt near mile marker 93. A state trooper had pulled a vehicle over on the right hand side, when a 2nd car smashed into the 1st, killing someone inside the 1st car. The trooper was taken to a nearby hospital with what were reportedly minor injuries. There’s no word yet on the conditions of the other people in the 2 cars. I-70 west was closed at the Silt exit for several hours, and an 8-mile detour using part of US 6 was put into effect.
They got it cleaned up awfully fast… and on Wednesday morning as promised when we first talked to officials late Tuesday night. Recapping what happened in a premature collapse of girders on the former Grand Avenue Bridge, local CDOT Communications Manager Tracy Trulove…
Turns out the girders that fell before they should have, also did no damage to the Union Pacific train tracks they landed on. Crews were out overnight and early Wednesday morning, cutting them up and hauling them away… and by mid-morning trains were using those tracks again. CDOT’s Regional Transportation Director Dave Eller says the agency is now in the middle of checking and double-checking everything at the former bridge site, in hopes of getting the deconstruction going again and keeping the entire project on schedule and on budget…
That schedule’s important… Every day the contractor finishes the new bridge in less than 95 days, they get paid 25 thousand dollars… for every day they go past that deadline, they pay the state 25 thousand.
There are lots of things to keep in mind as you drive and get used to the new detour route… one is that at the West Glenwood interchange, number 114, officers or flaggers will be stopping traffic at each exit, allowing it to clear so you don’t get even bigger backups onto the traffic lanes of I-70. Still too many cars out there with only 1 person in them, too, which of course adds to the load and the delays for everyone… and although police can’t ticket you because it is a public road, they’re very seriously asking you to stay off Midland Avenue between 27th & 8th Streets unless you live there. They say when heading north or west, stay on Highway 82. That’s the detour route, designed as we said earlier this week to get you to I-70 as faset as possible. Officers still say they’re seeing way too many drivers who think they have a shortcut, turning off 82 at 27th, trying to take a “back way” around the detour. Remember what Chief Terry Wilson told us earlier in the week… that’s actually a much slower way to go, that could take up to twice as long, because you’re going through a residential area and the lights are timed to keep traffic slow.
More transportation news… that popular Denver to Glenwood Service the state runs, the Bustang, has seen a 77 percent increase in its ridership on our local route, and 52 percent statewide. This week’s been the 2nd anniversary of the Bustang, and there was a big birthday card at Denver’s Union Station addressed to CDOT, which a lot of riders signed. Some officials say it’s crazy that nobody thought of doing Bustang until 2015, but they’re glad it’s available now. They’d like to see more expansion of the service, too. How good a deal is it? From Denver’s Union Station, it only costs 12 bucks to ride to Frisco in Summit County, 17 to Vail, it’s 22 dollars to Eagle, and 28 to Glenwood. You can learn a ton more about it if you want, at ride bustang dot com.
And search teams are out looking for Dave Cook again. Pitkin County Rescue has let media know that the local groups– Mountain Rescue Aspen, Garfield Search & Rescue, West Elk Search & Rescue, and Search & Rescue Dogs of the United States are out there again. Cook, from Corrales, New Mexico, was reported overdue nearly a year ago, last September, but still hasn’t been heard from or found. They’ve taken helicopters around Fravert Basin, have searched East Maroon trail on foot, and the Garbage Chute near Crater Lake too… and much of that was last weekend. Wednesday, the search covered Maroon, North Maroon, and Pyramid Peaks. No luck so far– no signs of Dave Cook.
What happens next with that old place in Aspen that used to be called the “Boomerang Lodge?” Hard to tell right now… A couple guys, investors Eric Witmondt and Marshall Tycher, formed a new company together earlier this year, saying they want to buy the property, including the land the building sits on. Its current owners paid about 13 and a half million dollars for it a dozen years ago. Tycher talked to City Council Monday, telling the Aspen Times afterward he and Witmondt only want to buy the 500 West Hopkins property if they can get all the redevelopment approvals for it re-worked and updated.