City Public Works Director Philo Shelton said asphalt and other materials removed from Lincoln Avenue during the repaving project, which now are piled near the Bear River Skatepark, will be crushed for city road projects or used for fill in a lagoon awaiting decommission from the state.

Photo by Tom Ross

City Public Works Director Philo Shelton said asphalt and other materials removed from Lincoln Avenue during the repaving project, which now are piled near the Bear River Skatepark, will be crushed for city road projects or used for fill in a lagoon awaiting decommission from the state.

Asphalt removal in Steamboat pending state action

City says materials near skatepark to be crushed, used for road projects

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— A city engineer said Monday that there’s no timeline for the removal and reuse of asphalt from the Lincoln Avenue repaving project that’s now piled at the site of former sewer lagoons near Bear River Skatepark.

“Right now, we’re in the process of working with the state on decommissioning those lag­oons,” city engineer Ben Beall said.

There are three ponds in the lagoon on Steamboat’s west side, behind the Routt County Jail at the end of Lagoon Court. Use of the lagoon as an open wastewater site began decades ago, Beall said, and later was scaled back to handle only overflow conditions. Even that use has long since stopped, Beall said, and the city now is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to “decommission” the last of the three ponds that the state still designates an active wastewater treatment site.

City Public Works Director Philo Shelton said that particular pond is immediately east of the skatepark that opened earlier this year.

Asphalt from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s massive Lincoln Avenue repaving project sits over the two decommissioned ponds, Shel­ton said. He added that the asphalt is the responsibility of the city, not of CDOT or Scott Contracting, which did the Lincoln Avenue work.

“We took that asphalt knowing that some day we could take some of it and recycle it,” Shelton said. “We had offered that right up front in the bid with CDOT, that we had a disposal site for the asphalt.”

That disposal site was selected before the skatepark was designated nearby, Shelton said.

He and Beall said CDOT tested asphalt and other materials for contaminants, such as oil, as materials were removed from Lincoln Avenue during the $5.6 million project that began a year ago and wrapped up last month.

“If it was not clean fill, they would have disposed of it differently — it would have been taken to a facility that could handle that,” Shelton said.

Beall acknowledged the as­­­phalt pile “is a bit of an eyesore at this point.” He said it would be crushed for uses including city and county roadway projects, and, potentially, to help meet decommissioning requirements for the remaining pond.

“We know that we can crush and use that material either at the lagoon or on our own roadway projects, and that’s our intent right now,” Beall said. “We’re actively working to get that chunk and that asphalt used in an environmentally green manner.”

Shelton said the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department would begin the process to improve skatepark access after the final pond is decommissioned.

“When that all gets closed out, then it gets turned over to parks, 100 percent,” Shelton said. “Once that’s done, then I think a lot of these access and road improvements can be folded in.”

But until that time, Shelton said, the city has to keep the lagoon site separate from access to the skatepark.

Jon Casson, director of the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance, could not be reached Monday.

The $312,000 park was completed in May. The cost to build the park was covered by a $200,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado; $50,000 from the city of Steamboat Springs; $50,000 from the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance; $10,000 from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation; and $2,000 from the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs.

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