Colorado Public Works Journal, Fall/Winter 2019

60 • Colorado Public Works Journal CDOT The author Jared Fiel is Regional Communications Manager at CDOT for Northeastern Colorado Jared Fiel CO 402: Flipping an interchange in less than 120 days One of the biggest pieces of the Colorado Department of Transporta- tion's mega-project I-25 North Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins was also one of the first to get accomplished as the new inter- change for Colorado Highway 402 was unveiled at a ribbon cutting on Oct. 18 ... three days earlier than the full 120-day closure of the road that was scheduled. While the CO 402 interchange was never the busiest in Northeastern Colorado, it had become easily one of the most congested. The road ran under I-25 with stoplights for the on- and off-ramps and the nearby frontage roads adding to the bottleneck. With the expansion of I-25, designers saw an opportunity to fix the congestion, straighten out an odd turn in the road and create a spectacular entrance for both Johnstown to the east and Loveland to the west. With the financial assistance of both Johnstown and Loveland, the project then focused on flipping the interchange so CO 402 ran over I-25 and the frontage road was pulled further away from the interstate and adding roundabouts instead of traffic signals. To accomplish all of this, it meant closing CO 402 for the projected 120 days. Contractor Kraemer/IHC did as much work as possible in advance of the closure and moved quickly to ensure they met the deadline which was not welcomed but understood by the local residents. The ribbon cutting on Oct. 18 was a real celebration. Loveland and Johnstown were well represented as communities all up and down the corridor joined in to get a sneak peek at just how nice the rest of the project will look. The reviews from the community and the local officials were raves. “It’s what happens when leaders focus on the right thing and do it,” said Scott James, former mayor of Johnstown and current Weld County Commissioner. “I’m very proud to say, we did the right thing.”