CDOT cutting down I-25 expansion time to 5 years

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — If you drive up to Denver from Colorado Springs, you’ll run into bottleneck, where three lanes go down two in each direction for 17 miles.

“It has a high accident rate within that particular area, it’s congested no matter where there’s an accident or not, it seems to be congested. And it’s putting a lot of pressure on the small communities that surround I-25 within that short stretch that is from Monument essentially to Castle Rock,” said Sallie Clark, El Paso County Commissioner and president of the Board of County Commissioners.

Friday, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced the 10-year time frame to widen that section of I-25 will but cut down to 5 years.

“We don’t feel like we’ll cut any corners, we’ll make sure the process is fair, it’s good, it covers all the legal requirements as well as the best practices,” said Karen Rowe, CDOT region two transportation director.

CDOT was able to free up nearly $15 million from another project, and put that towards designing a plan and while conducting the impact study at the same time.

Now, the problem is to find funds for construction, which can cost anywhere from $300 to $400 million.

“Right now, with the state and federal gas taxes, we don’t have enough construction funds identified in order to do this project. We just have enough funds in order to maintain our existing system. The gas taxes haven’t been raised since 1991 and 1993 and right now they’re not sufficient to build these kinds of big projects,” Rowe said.

According to a 2015 traffic study, more than 64,000 vehicles drive through Monument and Castle Rock every day – that’s a jump of more than 10,000 vehicles per day since 2004.

“We’re hoping for an additional transportation funding source in order to get the construction funds, but CDOT can’t do that. That’s not our determination, we look for other agencies or the vote of the people in order to determine what transportation funding source would be,” Rowe said.

CDOT hopes to have a project plan ready by the summer of 2019.

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