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Denver's I-70 may be rebuilt below surface

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usends:
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20526487/plan-i-70-viaduct-calls-dropping-road-below?nstrack=sid:2853292

Milepost61:
My first choice would be they go with the option that relocates to the north around the neighborhood along I-270. The sticky point with that one is it would slice right through the National Western Complex, but now there's a possibility the Stock Show might relocate, so it could be the opportunity CDOT needs to do the rerouting. Getting it completely out of the neighborhood seems like the best idea.

Barring that, depressing it would be a logical second choice. Doesn't have the intrusion an elevated viaduct has.

Either way, they do something by 2018 or risk closing I-70 due to the viaduct's deplorable condition.

andy3175:
Resurrecting an old thread, planning has continued on the "I-70 East" project, focusing on the elevated segment just east of the I-25 interchange (the Mousetrap). Community meetings have been underway through the fall.

The project now has its own webpage: http://i-70east.com/. Some interesting excerpts from http://i-70east.com/project-overview.html include a brief history of the segment of I-70 under study:


--- Quote ---Planning for I-70 started nearly 60 years ago. As part of the recommendation for the “Valley Highway,” now known as I-25, it was determined that Denver's major east-west thoroughfare should be located along 46th Avenue to the east of I-25 and 48th Avenue to the west. In 1947, Denver formally requested that the 46th/48th Avenue corridor be designated as a State Highway from Sheridan Boulevard to Colorado Boulevard. Detailed studies and design efforts continued in the 1950s and 1960s, and I-70 construction was completed in 1964. ...

In July 2003, CDOT and Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) began a joint study effort called the I-70 East Corridor Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). ... The purpose of the I-70 East Corridor EIS was to improve transportation along the I-70 highway corridor from I-25 to Tower Road and to explore potential rapid transit options from Downtown Denver to Denver International Airport.

In June 2006, the highway and transit elements of the I-70 East Corridor were separated into two independent projects, reflecting that they serve different travel markets, are located in different corridors, and have different funding sources. The intent of the separated highway environmental study, the I-70 East EIS, is to identify highway improvements along I-70 between I-25 and Tower Road that would improve safety, access, and mobility and address congestion. The transit study, the East Corridor EIS, is focusing on transit improvements between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport. Additional information on the East Corridor EIS can be found at: www.rtd-fastracks.com/ec_1.

In 2008, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released, analyzing four alternatives, two on the existing alignment and two realignment alternatives (2008 DEIS Alternatives). No preferred alternative was identified in the DEIS. ...

Due to a lack of strong support for any of the 2008 DEIS alternatives, CDOT and FHWA initiated a collaborative process to identify a preferred alternative. The Preferred Alternative Collaborative Team (PACT) was formed in July 2010, consisting of a group of stakeholders representing federal and state agencies, local governments, and community and business interests. After extensive deliberations—including two corridor-wide meetings—the PACT did not reach consensus on a preferred alternative. ...

(T)he 2008 Draft EIS alternatives were modified and a new alternative option was developed that better met the project's purpose, need, goals, and objectives and satisfied the public's and agencies' expectations. The project team then worked with the community and interested stakeholders along the corridor to further analyze the alternatives and develop a preferred alternative. ...

The I-70 East Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) has an anticipated release date of Spring 2014. A public comment period will follow this release.
--- End quote ---

Also interesting is that the alternative to reroute I-70 along I-270 and I-76 was removed as an alternative as part of the SDEIS process:


--- Quote ---Recently, there have been many questions about whether CDOT is evaluating an alternative that would realign I-70 around Denver using Interstates 270 and 76. This alternative was eliminated from consideration early in the project process, as documented in the Draft EIS (DEIS).
--- End quote ---

The preliminary approved alternative, at least prior to issuance of the SDEIS, is (according to http://i-70east.com/alternatives.html):


--- Quote ---The project team has preliminarily identified the Partial Cover Lowered Alternative as the I-70 East project's preferred alternative. The City of Denver champions this choice of location because of the important role I-70 plays in supporting commerce and providing redundancy in our transportation system in the case of major incidents. This position is shared by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Denver Chamber of Commerce, as well as Adams County and Commerce City.

The Partial Cover Lowered Alternative was developed in response to the lack of strong public support for the alternatives proposed in the 2008 Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This Alternative adds additional lanes in each direction of the highway to provide better mobility between I-25 and Tower Road, removes the existing viaduct between Brighton Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard, rebuilds I-70 along this segment below grade on the existing alignment, and places a cover on the highway between Columbine Street and Clayton Street next to Swansea Elementary School. The preferred alternative will be constructed with a 75- to 100-year life expectancy.
--- End quote ---

More about the particulars of the partial cover lowered alternative is also found on the webpage.

Regards,
Andy

Henry:
So another Big Dig may be in the works? Interesting.

Duke87:

--- Quote from: andy3175 on January 01, 2014, 04:36:45 PM ---Also interesting is that the alternative to reroute I-70 along I-270 and I-76 was removed as an alternative as part of the SDEIS process
--- End quote ---

Good. Sane heads prevailed here.

Putting the freeway below grade and decking a bit of it over will reduce its impact on the neighborhood while maintaining its ability to carry traffic. This is the right solution.

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