CDOT Cancels Highway Expansion Plans

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For years, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) examined and calculated highway expansion plans to unclog I-25 through central Denver. They mulled over deep studies contemplating solutions ranging from extra general-purpose lanes, to congestion management fees at busy times, to new managed or toll lanes, to “braiding” crowded entrances and exit ramps. Just as the time came to act on a final decision, CDOT dropped all expansion plans, stating that the agency had no foreseeable money for widening efforts. 

This story, published in The Colorado Sun, states: 

“‘CDOT has also determined that the funds do not exist for the widening of I-25 between 6th Avenue and Alameda Avenue and that only relocating the Consolidated Main Line off I-25 must be studied,’ according to a letter from transportation department director Shoshana Lew. The letter was included in April commissioner study materials.”

“I think people are starting to understand that these highways are really city killers,” said transportation analyst Matt Frommer to the Colorado Sun. “And we’re trying to build a more livable city. So I’m glad we’re leaving the capacity as is and hopefully using the $1.5 billion for other good stuff.”

In March of this year, a coalition of environmental and alternative transportation groups sent a group letter to CDOT, Denver and the Denver Regional Council of Governments, demanding they discontinue planning to construct more lanes on central I-25 and direct funds towards other more diverse modes of transportation. 

“Colorado leaders can no longer pretend it’s possible to have it both ways,” wrote the advocates. “You can not continue to fund highway widenings that induce demand for driving while spending a marginal amount on multimodal projects. Colorado must stop highway expansion projects and instead must significantly increase investment in projects and programs that increase transportation options.”

Two months later, the coalition was shocked when CDOT agreed with their arguments, after years of studying I-25 congestion management alternatives, and halted the highway expansion plans, noting the group’s point that it was not a financially viable course of action.

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