The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has recently embarked on a project to rebuild the Central 70 interstate in Denver. This project, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2018, will make tremendous improvements to Denver’s highway system, and provide additional benefits to Colorado residents and workers. Not only will it improve highway and transportation efficiency, but it has the potential to improve air quality and boost the economy for the local businesses surrounding Central 70.
Over $1 billion in funding is committed for the Central 70 project, half of which is funding from the government-owned Colorado Bridge Enterprises (CBE). The Central 70 Project is one of the many roadways and bridges that the CBE plans to repair; however, the Central 70 Project is by far the greatest of scale and expenditure. The entire project scope includes:
Complete 1-70 reconstruction, spanning from Brighton Boulevard to I-270
Widening 1-70 to accommodate the addition of two express lanes
Removing the outdated viaduct bridge and lowering a large portion of the interstate
Building a 4-acre covering park over the interstate
Benefits to the City and State:
I-70 connects the rest of the city to the Denver International Airport, and along its road there are over one thousand businesses that gain traction from their proximity to the highway. Everyday, the current bridge holds more than 200,000 vehicles. It’s reconstruction would allow for easier commutes to Denver, and provide better traffic to the businesses alongside it.
The CDOT has received numerous proposals for the lead development team. The company chosen will oversee the design, construction, and maintenance of the reconstructed highway. Whichever company the CDOT chooses will be able to provide hundreds of construction jobs for residents of Denver. The lead development team will choose many minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses to support this project. This will help many disadvantaged businesses employ workers needing a livable wage. (you can read more about Colorado’s construction industry here).
This project is, under permission from the Federal Highway Administration, planning to target local small businesses and contractors only for hiring. Contractors from out-of-state will not be recruited until all locally owned businesses and contractors have been utilized.
The new express lanes will clear congested traffic and accommodate future transportation needs as the city of Denver grows in size. This will in turn improve air quality in the city, as people will spend less time on the road, and may even be encouraged to carpool. The current highway is constructed over an elementary school and residential area, and the Central 70 Project hopes to improve air quality and provide a beautiful covered park for the children and residents.