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Long-Awaited I-25 Improvements Break Ground Next Month

Jared Tarbell
Flickr-Creative Commons
Traffic inches along I-25 in Denver.

Drivers beware: Groundbreaking for construction along a 14-mile stretch of I-25 is starting as soon as next month. That means delays as work gets underway.

The project, which will add express lanes between Fort Collins and Johnstown, is likely to cause many a driver headache, but ultimately provide much-needed relief in a heavily-congested area.

Cranes and trucks are already parked along the highway in preparation.

Over the whirrs of morning traffic, Johnny Olsen stood at the edge of Kendall Parkway near the Centerra shopping center in Loveland, explaining to a crowd of reporters the dramatic changes in store for the interstate.

“This is the only stretch of road that actually makes sense today for us to come in and work on,” Olsen, region 4 director for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said. “It’s got the most cars and it’s got a lot of movement between the major (northern Colorado) communities.”

The project is estimated to cost $302 million, funded by community contributions, federal grants, state dollars and loans. If everything stays on track, CDOT hopes to have all improvements finished by early 2022.

In preparation for the construction slog, the agency is hosting a series of informational public meetings.

The first is set for 5:30 p.m. June 27 at The Ranch Events Complex, Larimer Conference Center in Loveland. Olsen, along with CDOT project managers, also met with northern Colorado business owners on Monday night to discuss potential impacts.

“Over the next three years, I’m going to ask for everybody’s patience,” Olsen said during a media briefing. “Every project will have impact and there will always be a little bit of pain points over the construction phasing.”  

Follow up events have yet to be announced.

Credit Matt Bloom/KUNC
Johnny Olsen, region 4 transportation director for the Colorado Department of Transportation, points to one of the soon-to-be construction sites along I-25.

Nathan Corbett, acting project director with Kramer IHC, the construction company hired to do the work, said he plans to update the public weekly on construction progress through social media, mailers and a hotline.

“We have a very robust public outreach plan,” he said. “It’s far more than public meetings.”

That way, he said, the company hopes to earn more buy-in from the traveling public.

“It just makes for a better experience throughout the entire project,” he said.

We broke down the details of various construction projects by groundbreaking date: 

U.S. 34 exit, July 2018

  • An additional lane a half-mile long in each direction from I-25 out
  • Just north of the exit, crews will replace an outdated bridge above the railroad tracks near Kendall Parkway and the Centerra shopping center
  • A new park-n-ride lot accessible from I-25, as well as a one-of-a-kind bus station in the middle of the interstate. The new station will allow for faster drop off and pick up of passengers

Highway 402 exit, Fall 2018

  • Flipping the interstate, so I-25 will go underneath 402 in the future
  • Interchange entrances and exits will be controlled by roundabouts
  • CDOT plans to close the exit entirely for 4 months in summer 2019

Prospect Road exit, Summer 2019

  • Bridge will be expanded to eight lanes, with improved entrance and exit ramps

Harmony Road exit, in planning

  • Additional lanes added to the Harmony road entrance and exit ramps

Various bridge replacements and trail connections, in planning

  • Widen Big Thompson River bridges
  • Replace Cache la Poudre River trail bridges
  • Connect the Poudre River Trail underneath the interstate
  • Create a wildlife passage along the Poudre River

Overall improvements, ongoing, expected completion in early 2022

  • Add an express lane in each direction between Prospect Road and Highway 402 exits
  • Rehabilitation of existing general purpose lanes in each direction
I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.
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