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North I-25 Construction Could Last 2 Years Longer Than Expected, CDOT Says

Matt Bloom/KUNC
Cars and trucks drive along I-25 in Johnstown.

Construction crews and cone zones along I-25 in northern Colorado aren’t going away anytime soon. The Colorado Department of Transportation is considering pushing back the completion date for the highway’s expansion between Johnstown and Fort Collins to 2023.

The original project, which kicked off last fall, was scheduled to take about three years and cost $330 million.

But last month, the state’s Transportation Commission approved a new, more ambitious goal: resdesigning and building the entire 14-mile stretch of I-25 along its “permanent alignment.”

“It’ll be a much bigger, better project and allow for future expansion,” said Jared Fiel, a spokesman for CDOT. “It actually saves a ton of money doing it now.”

In its May decision , the commission listed the cost of the additional work between $250 million to $310 million. Starting the work now will save the state’s taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars down the line, it added.


Credit Matt Bloom / KUNC News
An excerpt from the Transportation Commission's May 2019 agenda packet outlines potential savings to taxpayers.

The commission said carrying out the alignment would mean “14 miles of pavement reconstruction, replacement of (more) bridges, an additional interchange and constructing the interstate out of the Poudre floodplain at the Kechter Road overpass, where it currently overtops at a 25-year (flood) event requiring the interstate to be shut down.”

Fiel said the additional construction time will be worth the wait.

“You’re going to see a lot of bridges fixed and a lot of things that weren’t planned in the original concept,” Fiel said.

One addition is the expansion of the U.S. 34 bridge connecting Loveland and Greeley. Fiel said the new bridge will eventually be three decks, meaning east-west traffic won’t have any stops.

“If you want to go from Greeley to Loveland, you’ll have a straight shot through,” Fiel said. “We call it Mousetrap 2.”

The “Mousetrap” is the nickname for the massive I-25 and I-70 interchange in northern Denver.

Fiel said CDOT is still determining exactly how long the additional work will take. The entire North I-25 project aims to add a third “express” lane along the 14-mile stretch of road. Here’s a detailed map of planned improvements:


Credit Colorado Department of Transportation

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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