CDOT’s environmental assessment on I-25 widening met with criticism

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For the past year and a half, the Colorado Department of Transportation has been working on improving an 18-mile stretch along Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock.

“There’s been a need to improve the gap for many years,” Tamara Rollison with CDOT said. “Traffic has outgrown that section.”

The department revealed their preferred alternative for the project, which will widen the interstate, add wildlife underpasses, and include a tolled express lane in each direction.

“I want the expansion, just not the toll,” Rolie Mckee said.

“It almost seems like they are penalizing everyone to the west of Douglas County to be safe,” Heidi Carey said.

CDOT said it looked at three different options for the project, but after analyzing each option, an express toll lane proved to be the best alternative.

During a public hearing on Wednesday, the department said the toll lane will will add flexibility in adapting to changing traffic, provide room for emergency vehicles, and more.

“By adding an express lane, we can offer a level of travel reliability that we cannot if we made it a general purpose lane,” Rollison said.

The lane would be free to cars with three or more people inside, along with buses and motorcycles. CDOT said nothing is set in stone, as the environmental assessment has yet to be approved.

“I pay my state taxes, and we approved additional funding for roads, and now they want us to pay to stay safe for a third lane?” Carey said.

A final decision will be announced in June after funding is secured. In the meantime, CDOT said their goal is to provide the safest option for everyone.

“This is a very critical project, if anything, to save lives,” Rollison said.

>> The environmental assessment is available for public review on the project website until May 29.

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