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I-25 North Widening - Longmont to Fort Collins

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There is renewed interest to expand Interstate 25 from Longmont to Fort Collins (roughly between the Colorado 66 and 14 interchanges) from four to six lanes. See below for the latest ... no solutions as of yet:

--- Quote ---Ideas on how to widen I-25 from Fort Collins to Longmont to three lanes branch out in different directions from that shared understanding.

A number of efforts to widen I-25 have been met with varying levels of success over the years. But in 2015, increased pressure from residents has for the first time unified Northern Colorado groups working to pool resources and design projects.

The idea is that Northern Colorado projects will be ready and rise above the other Colorado groups looking to cash in should federal or state money become available.

Construction projects to begin widening I-25’s Northern Colorado pinch points start in spring, offering new hope that the interstate will be expanded to three lanes of travel in each direction by no later than 2035. ...

If no additional funding or grants become available, budget restrictions prevent CDOT from completing the $1.2 billion widening project until 2075. CDOT is, however, planning for the future.

A couple of construction projects starting next year will improve existing north I-25 infrastructure to accommodate three lanes whenever they are built.

At Crossroads Boulevard in north Loveland, crews will expand the overpass to accommodate additional lanes and level the southbound and northbound lanes. The roughly $30 million project will take two years to complete.

In spring 2016, CDOT will build a $9.5 million climbing lane at Berthoud Hill, giving southbound commuters a third lane for a 2-mile stretch that often causes congestion.

Earlier this month, the public learned about the Fix Colorado Roads Act, an initiative that seeks to funnel $3.5 billion in state general fund money into road and bridges projects across the state. The goal is to find a permanent source of money to couple with a small portion of CDOT’s budget to fund the $3.5 billion bond program.

If passed by the Legislature, the Fix Colorado Roads Act would be referred to the November 2016 ballot.

A similar measure failed Legislature last year, but proponents believe they have more bipartisan backing and a wider coalition this time around.

If approved, north I-25, along with south I-25 and Interstate 70, are areas of priority for funding. ...

CDOT requested $90 million in improvements for bridges over the Poudre, Big Thompson, Little Thompson and St. Vrain rivers to enhance flood flow capacity of the bridges and widen them to support three lanes in each direction.

If approved, bridge construction would start in spring 2017 with construction to be completed by 2019. The projects could receive any portion of the $90 million ask. The Poudre River bridge has been identified by CDOT as the top priority among the four bridges. The group hopes to hear if, or how much, of the grant it receives by mid-January.
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--- Quote ---Northern Colorado motorists' hopes for clearer travel took a blow with Thursday's announcement that Colorado will not receive federal funding to widen bridges and pave the way for additional lanes of north Interstate 25.

Colorado was one of 40 finalists competing nationally for a share of the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition grant. The  U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced the 13 winners Thursday, leaving Colorado off the short list.

Grant funding would have been used for a number of projects in parts of Colorado most impacted by wildfires and flooding in recent years. I-25 was heavily damaged in 2013 where the Big Thompson River crosses under the interstate near Loveland.
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--- Quote ---Local leaders are continuing to put money behind their calls to action for Interstate 25 improvements – this time, it's the business community working with elected boards.

The Fix North I-25 Business Alliance is a coalition under the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, a consortium between the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce as well as Upstate Economic Development Commission.

The alliance was started, according to Loveland Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Mindy McCloughan, because I-25 improvements are essential to meet the demands of population and business growth in Northern Colorado.

"After the flood, we saw clearly that basically, it was a crystal ball into our future what the traffic count was going to be by 2025," McCloughan said, when traffic was directed to I-25 because of alternate routes closed after the flood. ...

The alliance was officially formed in 2015, McCloughan said, and initial funding was from area businesses, raising $117,000. Area businesses will continue to contribute, but the alliance sought funding for elected boards to supplement those efforts.

McCloughan said the Colorado Department of Transportation estimate of $1.3 billion just to add a third lane on the highway is in today's dollars, and continuing to wait for CDOT to have enough money is not an option.
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--- Quote ---An online petition calling on a score of state legislators to take action on building a light rail line from Fort Collins to Denver has gained hundreds of supporters, but the named public officials say the petition fails to offer realistic solutions to a complicated issue.

As of Friday, the petition on, launched a month ago, has attracted 258 signatures. The petition names every member of House Transportation and Energy Committee, Senate Transportation Committee and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The author of the petition, Ariel Mays-Lewis, did not respond to requests for comment. On the page, she wrote that light rail along the north Front Range "would decrease traffic on the surrounding roadways, cost less than expanding I-25, and lower carbon dioxide emissions."

Some state officials named in the petition noted a number of flaws in the page's argument. Also, the site does not offer suggestions on where the state would acquire the $1.2 billion needed to a build the commuter rail. While the petition talks about light rail, which includes electric-powered trains, the rail system envisioned by the Colorado Department of Transportation to run from Fort Collins to Denver is a commuter rail, generally powered by diesel trains. ...

CDOT spokesman Jared Fiel noted the petition's failure to identify a source of funds and that public opinion is divided on whether building commuter rail or widening the interstate is more worth the $1.2 billion price tag.

CDOT has conducted a number of studies on a commuter rail but gives no timeline or plan of action. Essentially, the studies determined what it would take and what it would cost if, or when, there's concrete funding and plans to build it.

"If the idea is to take the money away from the expansion of I-25," Fiel said, "I'm sure there would be a lot of people who would not be in favor of that."

But there won't be one lump sum of a billion dollars that the state will acquire and then be forced to choose which project to pursue. Smaller construction projects are currently being done on I-25 to prepare the interstate for when it is eventually widened, which CDOT has set as a goal 2035. This spring, a climbing lane will be built on southbound I-25 at Berthoud Hill, south of the Colorado Highway 56 interchange, for $9.5 million and the Crossroads overpass will be expanded to accommodate more lanes for $30 million.
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--- Quote ---Before Don Hunt left his post as chief of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) early this year, he told The Denver Post that one of the most difficult challenges facing the state from a funding perspective was the expansion of Interstate 25 to six lanes along a 25-mile stretch north of Denver near Fort Collins.

"We have [a plan]," Hunt said, "but it costs $1 billion. It's an unfunded plan. We have $35 million for a billion-dollar project."

This is a project that even people generally skeptical of highway expansion should favor – since there is no real alternative to I-25 along the Front Range. And it is growing population, not more individual driving, that has produced time-devouring congestion.

That segment of I-25 is hardly the only stretch of highway that needs improvement simply to keep up with population growth. For example, although CDOT has pulled several rabbits from its hat to improve the I-70 mountain corridor, much more needs to be done there.

Unfortunately, the recent legislative session failed to produce a plan to do something about highway funding.
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Should probably be six lanes all the way to the Wyoming border.


--- Quote from: mrose on January 26, 2016, 03:54:58 PM ---Should probably be six lanes all the way to the Wyoming border.

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Maybe even south of I-80. I dread going to Denver.

I'm very happy that I rarely have to drive through it these days.


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