Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring-Summer 2021

14 | Colorado Public Works Journal by Rebecca Callahan Solving Colorado’s Road Woes Images © Clyde Industries Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the nation. From 2010 to 2020 the population of the state increased by 14.8% and by 2040 the population is expected to increase to 7.8 million people (a 47% increase) and 5 million jobs (a 51% increase). With this growth comes an increase in traffic congestion, wear and tear on ageing roadways, safety issues, and impacts to citizen mobility. According to a report titled “Keeping Colorado Mobile” produced by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit: • 5% of Colorado’s bridges are deficient. • Denver drivers lose 62 hours and 26 gallons of fuel per year sitting in traffic. This adds up to a cost of $1,242 annually for each motorist. • Deficient roads cost motorists $651 in vehicle operating costs. One of the ways CDOT is addressing this challenge is to expand a 14 mile stretch of I-25 between Johnstown and Fort Collins. The project was awarded as a 5-year joint venture design-build between Kraemer North America (Kraemer) and IHC Scott. Improving inadequate roadways The project will add tolled express lanes in both the northbound and southbound directions and reconstruct existing pavements. Adding lanes to this busy freeway will address some of the congestion that hampers the state’s ability to support economic development and quality of life. Heavy traffic robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers, and manufactur- ers, costs which are largely passed on to consumers. To accommodate the required widening, the joint venture will recon- struct 19 bridges and add two more. It will also reconstruct five large box culverts under I-25. The scope of the project will involve moving over 2 million cubic yards of dirt, placing over 1 million square yards of base and concrete, completing numerous irrigation and utility relocations, implementing water retention and control measures, constructing approximately 215,000 square feet of various walls, installing approximately 9-miles of storm drainage, and installing a completely new roadway lighting and safety package. In addition to widening the freeway, the project will address several safety issues throughout the corridor. The current corridor has substandard shoulders as well as other aspects of the roadway that aren’t up to current safety standards. This area of I-25 has been modified throughout the years to some extent but there is some older infrastructure –older bridges and roadways – that need to be addressed. Managing the flood plain The Northern Colorado region has three major flood plains: The Big Thompson, the Cache la Poudre River Basin, and the Box Elder. In 2013, massive flooding in these areas caused the closing of many roads, including I-25 when waters from the Big Thomson river over- topped the freeway, shutting it down. One of the major benefits of the expansion project is that it takes two sections of I-25 out of the hundred-year flood plain, improving safety and reducing the risk of flooding in the future. Increasing mobility To increase transportation options for travelers, the project will provide a state-of-the-art intelligent transportation and tolling system. This will include constructing a center load bus rapid transit (BRT) system, the first of its kind in Colorado. The center load station will be located between the two directions of I-25. Pedestrians will access the BRT from underneath the roadway through a box culvert and then walk up to a modern platform that will provide interactive monitors displaying travel times and other important information. To further support travelers, an additional park and ride location will be constructed. CDOT partners with Kraemer and IHC Scott for I-25 improvements to create safer, easier travel