Crews will soon begin work to improve mobility and save lives along one of the most heavily traveled corridors in Colorado, Interstate 25. Gov. John Hickenlooper led a groundbreaking ceremony for the I-25 South Gap project today, officially kicking off construction on the 18-mile project between Monument and Castle Rock.
The I-25 South Gap is a four-lane section of I-25 connecting Colorado’s two largest cities, Denver and Colorado Springs. Over the years, congestion, crashes and delays have grown along with Colorado’s population. Safety along this vital transportation corridor has been a key concern.
The $350 million project is being funded by Douglas County, El Paso County, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), and a federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant.
Joining Gov. Hickenlooper and CDOT were representatives from Colorado State Patrol, the Federal Highway Administration, Douglas County, El Paso County, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, and several elected officials who played major roles in getting this project from study to construction.
“Getting this project to construction would not have been possible without the leadership of many of our elected officials along the corridor at the federal, state and local levels,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “It’s an example of great collaboration that will go a long way in saving lives, reducing congestion and providing reliable travel options.”
“Our trooper family knows too well the hazards of this corridor,” said Col. Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol Chief. “The I-25 South Gap is a tough place to work. We’re thankful to all the partners that came together to accelerate this project for everyone’s safety.”
“We’ve heard from state patrol chief Matt Packard about the tragic deaths of two state troopers in the Gap,” said Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas. “I’d like to also remember my friend, and fellow state trooper Charlie Fry who was struck and killed by a drunk, hit and run driver less than a mile from where we are today, in the Gap,” she continued. “I have vivid memories of that evening 31 years ago when I found and arrested that drunk driver. You see, like Chief Packard, I patrolled this road as a state trooper, and getting it widened is very personal to me,” Thomas said.
The I-25 South Gap project will:
- Add one lane in each direction between Monument and Castle Rock. The new lane will operate as an Express Lane, so motorists will always have the choice of taking the two general-purpose lanes for free or taking the Express Lane for a reliable trip in exchange for a toll.
- Widen shoulders to allow room for enforcement zones, maintenance and detours around incidents.
- Rehabilitate structures and pavement, including the replacement of four bridges.
- Build four wildlife underpasses and expand the existing one at Plum Creek.
- Improve lighting, signage, fencing and other features.
Roadwork will begin in early September on the northern portion of the project near Castle Rock. Overnight lane closures will be ongoing along I-25 between Plum Creek Parkway and Sky View Lane as crews begin restriping I-25 and installing concrete barrier to make room for work in the median, where the new Express Lane and inside shoulder will be constructed.
Putting all four lanes of traffic in this new, temporary alignment will occur over several weeks, but drivers could see new traffic patterns along this stretch as soon as Friday, Sept. 7. Traffic will be pushed to the far outside shoulders. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained during daytime hours throughout the duration of construction.
Most of the initial traffic impacts will be focused in the northern section. Still, motorists will see some construction activity corridor-wide where crews are re-locating the fiber optic lines east of I-25.
Work in additional areas along the corridor will begin in phases. By summer 2019, the entire 18-mile stretch will be experiencing active construction. Substantial construction completion is planned for late 2021 with tolling to begin in 2022.
Throughout the project, drivers can expect:
- Two lanes in each direction to be open during daytime, peak travel hours
- Lane and ramp closures will be restricted to nighttime off-peak travel hours
- Narrower lanes and shoulders to accommodate for the work zone
- Speed limit reductions to 65 mph on the interstate and 45 mph on the frontage roads when construction is occurring
- Construction trucks entering and exiting the median
- Nighttime single lane closures on I-25 from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
- Intermittent frontage road closures for various construction activities. Flaggers will assist with directing traffic during the frontage road closures to maintain local access.
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