The Colorado Department of Transportation is having a public discussion over its plans to widen a dangerous stretch of I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument.
CDOT calls it ‘the gap’ because it has just two lanes on each side, unlike the wider sections in Denver and Colorado Springs.
On any given day, about 68,000 people are on this stretch of interstate, but the last time it was updated was in the 1950s.
Changes could include adding more lanes and widening the shoulder to make it safer for drivers, first responders and create more room for a growing population.
On Thursday evening, drivers were willing to spend time maneuvering the same interstate that’s given them so much grief to make it to Colorado Department of Transportation’s public meeting
“In one weeks’ time I was behind four different accidents,” said Robin Corran, who travels from south of Colorado Springs to Castle Rock for work every day.
For those at the meeting, the maps of I-25 connecting the two biggest cities in the state were more than just maps. It’s their morning commute and gridlock they sit in.
“I’ve gone off the road a couple times because of snow,” said Corran.
The road problems are expanding along with Colorado’s population, which is expected to reach eight million people in the next 20 years.
“It’s outdated and needs to be improved,” said Bob Wilson with CDOT.
CDOT is taking a close look at the interstate from Lone Tree to Monument, paying particularly close attention to the 17 miles in between Castle Rock and Monument where the interstate shrinks. They’re studying what it will take to expand it from two lanes in each direction to three along with widening the shoulder and median.
“We’ve had fire trucks hit and ambulances hit,” said Larkspur Fire Protection District Chief Stuart Mills. “A lot of firefighters at Larkspur Fire Protection District say they would rather run into a burning building then go out onto I-25.”
His men and women responded when Colorado State Trooper Cody Donahue was hit and killed on this same stretch of road in November—and the year before when Trooper Jaimie Jursevics was hit and killed by a drunk driver.
Preliminary reports indicate there have been eight fatal accidents on the section of interstate under study so far this year.
The project could cost up to 600 million dollars with no funding in place yet. CDOT says it’s up to state legislators to figure that out as they continue their study
“It’s a good start and they’ve got a long way to go,” said Matt Krimmer the Town Manager for Larkspur, which is half-way between Monument and Castle Rock.
The plan is to complete the study by 2018. If funding is secured, CDOT can move ahead with construction.
So far, all possibilities are on the table including making this stretch of interstate toll lanes.
The next public meeting on the issue is scheduled for spring.
CREDITS (© 2017 KUSA)