Basalt Town Council Approves Reduced Contract for Midland Avenue Streetscape Project

Stephanie Kroll

The Basalt Town Council has given the green light for the second and final phase of the Midland Avenue Streetscape Project by approving a $7.69 million contract. The decision comes after extensive deliberations and cost adjustments, reducing the initial bid by $4.72 million.

The contract, awarded to Stutsman Gerbaz Earthmoving, reflects changes made to accommodate rising construction costs while aligning with available town revenues. Town Engineer Catherine Christoff emphasized that these adjustments were crucial for financial prudence.

Key modifications in the project include material substitutions for the redesigns on Midland Avenue. Asphalt will be used for travel ways and parking areas instead of concrete. Brick pavers will replace concrete pavers, and truncated domes will be employed instead of steel plates for ADA compliance in crosswalks.

During the council meeting, Christoff stated, “The team we believe has been highly successful in our value engineering efforts, reducing the overall costs by $4.7 million for phase two.”

The overarching goal of the Midland Avenue Streetscape Project is to address aging infrastructure, including water mains, while ensuring ADA compliance for sidewalks and storefronts. The project also involves alterations to the parking layout, contributing to the enhancement of the downtown area.

In 2021, Basalt voters supported a ballot issue authorizing the town to take on $18 million of debt through bonds for the Basalt Forward Program. The program encompasses initiatives such as streetscape and infrastructure improvements on Midland Avenue.

The design phase in 2022 revealed the need for restructuring the Midland Spur, prompting adjustments to the parking layout along Midland Avenue. The first phase, costing $11.5 million, focused on overhauling Midland Spur, incorporating wider sidewalks, improved stormwater drainage, significant utility work, and enhanced landscaping and lighting.

The approved second phase introduces expanded outdoor dining areas, enhanced crosswalks, increased bike parking, and an overall aesthetic uplift to downtown Basalt. Despite the months of debate and adjustments, the project is now set to proceed towards transforming Midland Avenue into a more vibrant and accessible space for the community.

However, the project has faced criticism from some town members, including resident Ted Guy. In August, Guy filed an initiative petition seeking to add sections to the municipal code to tighten the restrictions on the use of capital construction funds. Guy’s concerns revolve around the project's costs and the loss of diagonal parking on Midland Avenue.

Despite the opposition, the Town Council unanimously approved the contract on Tuesday night. Work on the second phase is scheduled to commence in late February or early March and will be completed by the end of 2024, according to Christoff.


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