The State Transportation Commission is preparing to allocate money for state transportation projects and update its tier one priority list. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 1 into law in May. The measure provides $451 million in one-time funding to the state’s highway system and allows the state to issue $380 million in certificates of participation for transportation projects. Additionally, two other initiatives from outside groups may be on the ballot in November asking voters to expand the Colorado Department of Transportation’s financing authority, to be put towards projects on the Tier One list.
Local elected officials from the North I-25 Coalition and business leaders from the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance presented a letter to the Colorado Transportation Commission last week asking the commission to set aside $200 million for two segments of I-25 between Longmont and Loveland and mark two segments between Loveland and Fort Collins as Tier One priorities. The groups argue that fixing and expanding I-25 for about 27 miles from Colo. 66 all the way up to Colo. 14 as one project is imperative for the freight traffic on I-25 as well as for the increasing population in Northern Colorado.
“Those lanes needed to be redone or reconstructed about eight years ago,” said Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, who is the chair of the North I-25 Coalition. “That’s why we’re pushing so hard for (those segments), because they need to be part of the whole project at this point, the whole construction.” Currently, I-25 is three lanes in each direction until the Colo. 66 exit, at which the highway narrows to two lanes in each direction.
The plan for segments five and six of I-25, between Longmont and Loveland, is to replace the aging infrastructure of the highway and add a managed express toll lane similar to what is on U.S. 36 or on I-25 north of Denver, so there would be two general purpose lanes and one express toll lane in each direction. Segment 5 is from Colo. 66 to Colo. 56. Segment 6 goes from Colo. 56 to Colo. 402. Together, the expansion of these segments would cost approximately $436 million.
CDOT already has funding to add one lane in each direction from Colo.14 in Fort Collins to Colo. 402 , with work scheduled to begin this summer. The additional money requested by advocates would provide additional money to build those sections, known as Segments 7 and 8, to standards included in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in 2011.