Ground broken on accelerated I-25 South Gap Project

MONUMENT, Colo. -- The Colorado Department of Transportation broke ground on the accelerated Interstate 25 South Gap Project in Douglas and El Paso counties on Thursday morning.

The project will rebuild and expand Interstate 25 between Castle Rock and Monument, a stretch of the highway that is in desperate need for an update.

The Gap will add one Express Lane in each direction. The two general purpose lanes will remain free.

CDOT said the old road along the 18-mile route is in rough shape so it's taking the fastest approach possible to get a project this size up and running.

“It served its purpose for a long time, but in the last 10 years or so, it’s gotten congested, the crash rates have gone up, so we are moving aggressively to save lives," CDOT spokeswoman Tamara Rollison said.

“It's an incredibly important project. We are building it to save lives, to reduce congestion and provide travelers with an option of travel choices so they have a level of reliability they don’t have today."

The real work begins next week on the $350 million project. El Paso and Douglas counties and the federal government are helping fund the project.