BY FREDA MIKLIN
Tim Stewart is executive director of E-470 public highway authority.
At a transportation forum held at and sponsored by the Hilton Denver Inverness Hotel May 24, the focus was on improving mobility in the region. Detailed presentations were given on: E-470’s status and plans, the C-470 express lanes, Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) I-25 project from Castle Rock to Monument, and the RTD’s southeast rail extension from Lincoln Station to Ridgegate Parkway in Lone Tree. The meeting was hosted by the transportation management arm of Denver South Economic Development Partnership.
Jiovanna Toppi, CDOT Engineer, is an expert in the C-470 express lane project.
In the lobby outside the forum, a representative of Let’s Go Colorado provided information and solicited signatures to get the proposal to increase Colorado’s sales tax by 0.62 percent exclusively for transportation on the November ballot. Denver South EDP supports the initiative.
Opening the conversation, Tim Stewart, executive director of the E-470 Public Highway Authority, described E-470 as a 47-mile all-electronic, fully user-funded toll road that does not levy or receive taxes. It was established to give motorists a choice. He said that if it did not exist, residents of the E-470 region would be spending nearly 15 million more hours in traffic.
The E-470 Authority is a political subdivision of the state, governed by a board of directors with eight voting members and eight non-voting members. The voting members are Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties and the cities of Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Parker and Thornton. Stewart presented traffic projections that show that the number of vehicles using E-470 each day is expected to increase from 31,300 presently to 56,300 in 2040 at the north end, and from 52,000 to 93,700 at the south end. He also said that employment in the E-470 area is forecast to grow by 44 percent in the next 20 years, compared to 29 percent in metro Denver. Likewise, the population growth in the E-470 area is projected to grow by 38 percent, compared to 27 percent in metro Denver.
Andy Mutz is RTD project manager for the southeast rail extension.Photos by Freda Miklin
CDOT engineer Jiovanna Toppi said that the C-470 express toll lane project consists of two express lanes westbound from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, one express lane westbound from Colorado Boulevard to Wadsworth Boulevard, and one express lane eastbound from I-25 all the way to Wadsworth Boulevard. She emphasized that, “every road that empties onto C-470 west has the option of going into a general purpose (non-toll) lane or an express toll lane.” Work is being done along the entire length of the $276 million project simultaneously. It is scheduled to be completed in spring, 2019. The website is codot.gov/projects/C470ExpressLanes, and has current information on work in progress.
Chuck Attardo is a CDOT project manager working on “the gap” plan for I-25 south of Castle Rock
Chuck Attardo, project manager at CDOT, talked about planned road improvements in “the gap,” an 18-mile section of I-25 from south of Castle Rock to just north of Monument. The goals of the project are to increase safety, to improve predictability of travel time, and to address animal collisions, which have been occurring at the rate of one per day. The preferred alternative includes an express toll lane in each direction and 12 to 15-foot shoulders on each side of the road, in addition to four wildlife crossings and drainage and surfacing improvements. The contractor, Kramer of North America, who also did the Arapahoe/I-25 project, is part of the planning process. Though not certain, CDOT’s goal is to complete the project by summer, 2021.
Andy Mutz, RTD project manager, said the southeast rail extension from Lincoln to Ridgegate Parkway, including the interim stops of Sky Ridge and Lone Tree City Center, is substantially complete. He talked about the 1,300-vehicle parking garage at Ridgegate, which is owned by RTD. Construction began two years ago, and service is planned for the second quarter of 2019.
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