The longest work zone in the state is preparing residents for a surge in construction as the Colorado Department of Transportation increases its weather-dependent tasks on the I-25 Gap — the …
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The longest work zone in the state is preparing residents for a surge in construction as the Colorado Department of Transportation increases its weather-dependent tasks on the I-25 Gap — the stretch of busy highway that for many years offered just two travel lanes in each direction.
The 18-mile corridor, between Castle Rock and Monument, has been under construction since September 2018 and is planned to wrap up in 2022.
“We're in the warm months of the year and this will allow us to work very long days,” said Bob Wilson, statewide communications manager for CDOT. “Drivers can expect a lot of changes. It will be a very busy construction season this summer and in the fall.”
While some parts of the project can be completed in winter, all paving must be done while the temperature is above a certain level, Wilson said.
During these warm, dry months, CDOT will build a 4-mile-long truck climbing lane between Greenland and Monument, construct bridges and pave along the interstate.
“The biggest thing people will run into generally is single-lane closures,” Wilson said.
The southbound I-25 on and off ramps at Greenland Road will be closed through roughly Aug. 10.
The project, Wilson said, is on schedule and about halfway finished.
A two-year study of I-25, called the Planning and Environmental Linkages study, or PEL, laid out a grand vision for Douglas County when it was released in October 2019. Some elements of the plan, including the truck climbing lane, an auxiliary lane between Skyview Lane and Spruce Mountain Road and a Castle Rock mobility hub, have moved forward.
Construction on the mobility hub, eventually envisioned to be similar to Denver's Union Station, is expected to begin in about three to four years, said Chuck Attardo, I-25 south corridor manager.
For the Castle Rock mobility hub, which would include Bustang and possibly other bus stops, CDOT has about $6 million in funding so far and a likely location selected, Attardo said.
Other suggestions from the PEL, like a 300-foot-long wildlife overpass south of Greenland Ranch, are a priority but don't yet have any funding.
“We had a ton of momentum coming out of the PEL and I wish we could have capitalized on that a bit better but right now with the budgets, primarily related to COVID-19, … there isn't any money to do anything big or grand,” Attardo said.
Attardo was also hoping to see similar road improvements made on I-25 between Castle Rock and Lone Tree, he said. That project, estimated to cost about $1.5 billion, has been put on hold in part due to COVID-19 but also because I-25 construction is not a top priority for CDOT, he said.
“We're doing everything we can to keep things moving,” Attardo said. “The thinking is, let's keep working on stuff because eventually the economy will pull around and let's be ready to construct these things.”
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