Construction could begin in summer or fall 2016
Posted: in Denver Post 12/17/2015 by Joe Vaccarelli
The C-470 toll-lane project between Interstate 25 and South Kipling Parkway is one step closer to reality after a study found no significant noise impact; construction on the new express lanes should be underway by mid-2016.
“Our goal is to start construction mid-2016 — summer or fall,” said Amy Ford, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The Finding of No Significant Impact was made after a noise study was done in response to residents of Highlands Ranch who had complained about current and potential noise and asked for a wall to block sound between the South Quebec Street and South University Boulevard exits. The study was signed by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
The study was released in late November and found that the wall was not necessary, as did an earlier environmental assessment, according to CDOT.
The news was disappointing to residents who had lobbied for a sound wall.
Carter Sales, president of the Highlands Ranch Neighborhood Coalition, said the study didn’t address the neighborhood concerns and he believes it didn’t accurately predict noise the additional lanes will create.
“No, we’re not satisfied,” Sales said. “We have the ability to seek judicial review based upon when they published it. But, in our view, it doesn’t satisfy the concerns.”
Ford noted that the guidelines for having a wall have changed since the widening project was first explored in 2006 and current regulations don’t require a wall in that area, based on what the study found.
In the meantime, CDOT is putting out a request for proposals for construction on the $269 million project that will add both eastbound and westbound toll lanes spanning Douglas, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. The project is paid for by a combination of local and federal dollars, and CDOT is getting a loan to cover the remaining costs that will be paid back by the revenue from the toll lanes.
The contractor could be selected by year’s end.
The lanes were deemed necessary to relieve congestion in the corridor during rush hours.
“We’re definitely excited that it’s going forward,” said Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon, who also serves on the C-470 Corridor Coalition.
The work will add two tolled lanes westbound between I-25 and South Colorado Boulevard and one lane between Colorado and South Wadsworth Boulevard. One toll lane will run eastbound between South Platte Canyon Road and I-25, with the desire for all the toll lanes eventually to extend to Kipling. Auxiliary lanes will be added as needed.
Additionally, the construction will include a full reconstruction of the existing road, improving on-ramps and off-ramps, realigning some curves, safety improvements between I-25 and South Quebec Street and the widening of bridges.
Noon added there is excitement in her community regarding the project. She said that traffic has spilled onto Centennial’s streets and has affected businesses.
“Right now, everything seems slow with the I-25 construction (at Lincoln Avenue), but definitely businesses and shoppers think about it,” she said.
The project should be finished sometime in 2018, at which time the toll prices should be comparable to other toll lanes in the Denver metro area.
“It’s a little ways out, but we expect it to be comparable to I-25 and U.S. 36,” Ford said.