As more cars hit the highway for summer vacations, more construction will impede travelers’ trips, particularly on the section of I-25 called the Gap Project.
“We are ramping up big time.” said Tamara Rollison, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The project is divided into three sections: north, middle and south. The middle section, from Greenland Road north to Sky View Lane, will take the longest, as it needs the most done.
All three sections will be repaved and add a toll lane in each direction, on top of the two existing lanes.
The northern section is projected to be finished by fall 2020, the middle by spring 2022, and the southern section (running from Greenland Road south to Monument) by fall 2021.
Construction started in September 2018. Less than a year in, CDOT has already announced delays to the project’s finish date, pushing it back a year.
“Just like if you’re doing renovations on your house, you can have a pretty good estimation on how long it would take you to fix your roof or whatever the issue may be,” Rollison said. “But, once you get in there, there may be some other things that you just couldn’t anticipate. That happens on projects, particularly on complex projects such as this.”
On this project, CDOT didn’t anticipate just how deteriorated sections of the highway that was built in 1957 could be. Specifically, the shoulders were deteriorated to the point to which they would not be able to handle the traffic that needs to be diverted onto that area in order for other construction to persist.
Two lanes will be pushed inward towards the median, then outward towards the shoulders, in order for two lanes to be maintained in each direction.
“Before construction, we had two travel lanes in both directions,” Rollison said. “During construction, we have two travel lanes in both directions.”
The construction will also widen the shoulders of the highway. CDOT said that is for safety of travel and safety of law enforcement and other first responders. Before construction, the highway averaged one crash per day.
“By the end of 2022, we’re going to have a facility that is like brand-new,” Rollison said.
In the middle section, three bridges need to be replaced and one wildlife underpass installed. That section has the most work of the three and the latest estimated completion date.
In the southern section, an interchange at Greenland and County Line Roads will need to be improved, as well as a culvert bridge on Greenland Road. That section will also have three new wildlife underpasses constructed.
Once finished, a toll road will make up the third lane in each direction of the interstate.
“The idea behind that is moving more people, more so than more vehicles,” Rollison said.
The toll is yet to be determined, but will be the lowest in the state. Vehicles with three or more passengers will not pay the toll.
The total length of the construction zone is 18 miles.
“[Drivers] need to slow down,” Rollison said. “They need to give themselves plenty of room between their car and the vehicle ahead. Don’t follow too closely.”
Rollison reports the most frequent cause of accidents before and during construction in that section of the interstate, is people following too closely.
She advises people not to outsmart construction and avoid the interstate.
Frontage roads around the interstate will have lowered speed limits, and the interstate’s speed limit is still 65 so, she says, it’s still the fastest option.
“It’s just better for the safety of that whole corridor to stay the course,” she said.
For anyone looking for real time updates on the project, CDOT has a number of resources.
Email list: i25gap.codot.gov
Text Alerts: Test I25 to 21000