DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced its plans for construction this summer in the Denver metro area, including the $310 million safety and capacity improvement project on US 36, which is the state’s largest road construction project of the year. In all, there will be more than 40 active construction projects in the Denver metro area this summer, totaling more than $600 million.
“Thanks to the US DOT TIGER grant that was awarded to the US 36 project, the Regional Transportation District and many local partners, we are able to begin construction on several significant projects this year that would not have been constructed otherwise,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt. “As there is not an abundance of state and federal funds, we are depending more and more on partnerships with local agencies and the private sector to deliver projects. The good news is that the dedicated funding source for poor bridges through the Bridge Enterprise has allowed us to replace many aging structures on our transportation system, many of which will be underway this summer.”
While a large number of projects are continuing from last year, there are several projects that will begin in the coming weeks or later this summer:
• US 36 between Federal Boulevard and 88th Street — The $310 million design-build project widens US 36 to accommodate an express lane in each direction, reconstructs the existing pavement, replaces five bridges on US 36, adds Bus Rapid Transit components along the corridor, and constructs a commuter bikeway along much of the corridor amongst other improvements. When complete, motorists in the express lane can carpool, ride the bus, or pay a toll for a more efficient and reliable option or travel in the general purpose lanes for free. Construction will begin this summer and continue through December 2014.
• I-225 between Mississippi Avenue and Parker Road — This $43 million project widens I-225 from two to three lanes in each direction, completing the widening of I-225 between I-70 and I-25. In addition, the Yale Avenue bridge over I-225 will be replaced to accommodate the Regional Transportation Districts (RTD’s) extension of the light rail from Parker Road to Iliff Avenue. Both CDOT and RTD are funding the project. Construction will begin in the next week or two and continue through April 2014.
• Sheridan Boulevard over the Union Pacific Railroad — The $7 million Bridge Enterprise project replaces the Sheridan Boulevard bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad near I-76. The original bridge was constructed in 1966 and is in poor condition. Construction will begin this month and continue through May 2013.
• Pecos Street over I-70 — The $17 million Bridge Enterprise project replaces the Pecos Street bridge over I-70, which was originally constructed in 1965 and is in poor condition. In addition, two roundabouts will be constructed on Pecos Street, replacing the existing signalized intersections at I-70. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in July 2012 and continue into the fall of 2013.
In addition to the projects listed above, motorists should be aware of four major projects along five miles of I-25 in central Denver:
• I-25 between 20th Street and Speer Boulevard — The $14.6 million FASTER safety project adds auxiliary lanes on southbound I-25 from just south of 20th Street to just south of Speer Boulevard to allow more time for motorists to enter and exit I-25. The 15th Street bridge over I-25 will also be replaced. The city of Denver has contributed funds to make improvements to Central Street that will enhance both pedestrian and bicycle safety. The project began in January 2012 and will continue through January 2014.
• I-25 over the South Platte River — This $16.4 million project replaces the I-25 bridge over the South Platte River, also known as the “Broncos Arch” bridge due to its proximity to Invesco Field. The existing bridge was originally constructed in 1951 and is one of Colorado’s poor bridges. Construction has been underway since May 2011 and will continue through August 2013.
• I-25 over Santa Fe Drive (US 85) — This $60 million Bridge Enterprise project replaces the I-25 bridges over Santa Fe Drive that are both in poor condition and constructs a flyover ramp from northbound Santa Fe Drive to northbound I-25 to replace the current left side on-ramp and improve operations and safety for this major traffic movement. I-25 from the north end of the Broadway Viaduct to just south of Alameda Avenue will be reconstructed and realigned to provide lane continuity. This will help reduce the bottleneck in this area. Once complete, there will be four lanes in each direction of I-25 through Denver from C-470 to US 36. Construction began in July 2011 and will continue through July 2013.
• I-25 at Alameda Avenue (State Highway 26) — This project replaces the Alameda Avenue bridge over I-25 and reconstructs I-25 under Alameda Avenue in concrete. When complete, the Alameda Avenue bridge will be wider to accommodate full shoulders and sidewalks. This $36.9 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project will be complete by the end of June 2012.
Some of the other key projects that are already underway include:
• 84th Avenue over I-25 — This project replaces the 84th Avenue bridge over I-25, which was originally constructed in 1959 and is in poor condition. The new bridge will be wider to accommodate an additional left turn lane from eastbound 84th Avenue to northbound I-25 as well as 10-foot sidewalks on each side of the bridge. The $8 million Bridge Enterprise project will be complete by the end of September 2012.
• I-76 over the South Platte River — This project replaces the eastbound and westbound I-76 bridges over the South Platte River, which is between York Street and State Highway 224, with one structure. The existing bridges were originally constructed in 1967 and are in poor condition. The new structure will be slightly wider to accommodate wider shoulders. The on-ramp from State Highway 224 to westbound I-76 will be extended across the bridge to allow for more time to merge onto the Interstate. The $10.5 million Bridge Enterprise project will continue through June 2012.
• I-70 over Sand Creek — This $8 million Bridge Enterprise project will replace the eastbound and westbound I-70 bridges over Sand Creek, which is between Quebec Street and I-270, with one bridge. The existing eastbound structure was originally constructed in 1960 and the westbound structure was constructed in 1964 and both bridges are in poor condition. The replacement of the bridges will accommodate longer acceleration and deceleration lanes from Quebec Street to I-70, which will improve safety for motorists entering and exiting the highway. The project will continue through June 2012.
• US 6 (6th Avenue) over Sheridan Boulevard (State Highway 95) — Replaces the 6th Avenue bridge over Sheridan Boulevard, which was originally constructed in 1961 and is in poor condition. Drainage and lighting improvements will also be made including upgrading some traffic signals. The medians north and south of the bridge will be modified to increase the length of the left turn lane which will help with the flow of mainline traffic on Sheridan Boulevard. The $8.8 million Bridge Enterprise project will continue through August 2013.
• Federal Boulevard over Colfax Avenue — The $5.1 million Bridge Enterprise project replaces the Federal Boulevard bridge over Colfax Avenue with one that is wider to accommodate eight-foot sidewalks on each side of the bridge. The existing bridge was originally constructed in 1960 and is in poor condition. The project will continue through February 2013.
• I-225 at Colfax Avenue (Phase 2 and 3) — The $11 million project combines the final two phases to complete this interchange improvement project. The southbound I-225 ramp from 17th Place will be constructed and the west side of the I-225 bridge over Colfax Avenue will be widened to accommodate the ramp. The northbound I-225 on-ramp at Colfax Avenue will be reconstructed to provide an elevated collector-distributor road between Colfax Avenue and 17th Place. The project will continue through February 2013.