Colorado Public Works Journal, Winter 2024

WINTER 2024┃49 Colorado Infrastructure Construction Looks To Hit A New High in 2023 and Continue Into 2024 The author Tony Milo is Executive Director of the Colorado Contractors Association and can be contacted at After a record increase in 2022, infrastructure activity across Colorado in 2023 is expected to increase 6% more to $5.0 billion. Spending by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and local governments for transportation projects has leveled out and is expected to be sustained at the current level for the next few years. The 2021 federal Infrastructure Act provides Colorado with $4.01 billion to improve its roadway and bridge infrastructure network. The second installment of that fiveyear commitment is $692 million in FY 2023, most of which must be committed by the end of the summer to new or ongoing projects. Major road projects include $250 million for the Denver Colfax BRT Lane, US 287 realignment at $120 million and Colorado SH 119 at $115 million. CDOT is also advertising for two $100 million-plus projects on Vail Pass and US50.Counties and municipalities are enjoying strong tax receipts in 2023 and spending on local streets will be slightly higher in 2023. Demand for enhancements to water and wastewater projects has climbed substantially. Regulations for wastewater districts at first required higher treatment standards for operations of 2 million gallons per day. That recently was expanded to all districts. In the drinking water regulation, attention and federal funding has newly been put on cleaning up PFAs (“forever chemicals”). The unmet, planned construction demand in the state for all water projects has been officially determined at $4 billion, a jump that is multiples of average year work. Just as that demand has grown, the Infrastructure Act of 2021 practically eliminated the funding stream that passed through the State Revolving Fund and now that funding comes through requests made through Congressional earmarks, which raises uncertainty about next year’s funding to meet the greater regulations. Small project funding through the existing 2023 state appropriations allocated more than $100 million to fund Colorado water projects including, $19 million for continuation of the Platte River recovery implementation program, and an additional $20 million for continued support for the Frying Pan - Arkansas project. Bonding by districts for unsubsidized new projects has become problematic due to the high interest rates. Additional water projects include Aurora Wild Horse Reservoir at $700 million and South Platte Restoration, $500 million. Erection of solar and wind farms has meant that transmission lines must be built to convey the newly generated electricity to distribution points. That construction work continues to be significant, and energyrelated construction is anticipated to add $590 million to non-building activity in 2023 and $880 million in 2024. With federal and state funding at a sustainable level, nonbuilding activity is expected to stay strong and consistent throughout 2024, and unchanged from 2023 at approximately $5.0 billion. INSIDE CCA Tony Milo