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Taking Another Swing At Fed Money, Officials Hope To Start North I-25 Expansion In 2017

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Colorado Department of Transportation

A third lane traveling in both directions on I-25 in Northern Colorado could break ground as soon as 2017 -- if another $25 million can be added to the pot.

The North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, a group of local representatives from Front Range cities and counties, have contributed a total of $25 million already. Having lost out recently on $137.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the group hopes to fill the gap by going after other grants.

“We wish we had gotten that [DOT] grant, but it’s not going to stop us,” said Fort Collins mayor pro tem Gerry Horack.

The next target on the group’s radar is a Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER grant. If awarded to the project, the grant would provide the final $25 million needed.

"...it would be HOV at least 2 people, a toll lane for those who wanted to use it and pay, and thirdly, it would be used free by transit services"

“The communities have come up with $25 million, CDOT has contributed $165 million, so we just need a little bit more to begin construction, possible next year [2017].”

Running both north and south on I-25, the lanes would span from Highway 402 near the southern exit of Loveland north to the Mulberry exit in Fort Collins. They would also be “managed lanes.”

“...it would be HOV at least 2 people, a toll lane for those who wanted to use it and pay, and thirdly, it would be used free by transit services,”Horack said.

If built, the lanes would be a kind of trial run and provide hard data to try to entice companies to build a public private partnership toward the overall goal of a third managed lane from Highway 66 near Longmont to the Mulberry exit of Fort Collins, Horack said.

“Show the usage of those lanes, the possible revenue stream. So we’d take the variability out and get a better idea of what the financial potential is and whether it would make sense to do a P3 or if CDOT should just do it themselves.”

Horack thinks it’s a good example of Front Range communities working together to fix a very real problem.

“Folks have been able to agree on a goal, the goal is to get that other lane to be a managed lane… and agreement among municipalities, counties and the business community and from the polling that has been done by the public,” he said. “So it’s nice to see everyone working for the same purpose at the same time, that’s why I’m convinced it will happen.”

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