DENVER -- A bigger and better I-70 through east Denver and Aurora is headed closer to reality. The Colorado Department of Transportation Wednesday took an important step in getting the more than $1 billion project underway.
It’s hosting a two-day forum for the industries that want to build the improved interstate.
I-70 East is one of the most heavily traveled and congested roads in Colorado.
Up to 205,000 vehicles a day travel the 12-mile stretch from I-25 to I-225. And that figure will grow between 115,000 and 285,000 vehicles daily in 20 years.
They don’t have their hats in hand. And they’re not ready to drop to one knee.
But CDOT is suddenly the "belle of the ball."
“We’re looking for the right partner. There’s a lot of interest out there that we are hearing,” says Megan Castle, CDOT spokesperson.
Nearly 200 companies are courting CDOT with the hopes of landing the largest transportation project in state history.
“We’ll be talking with companies that manage these projects. They would be looking at providing design, building the project, financing it, providing operations and maintenance,” she says.
The perfect partner wins the I-70 East project that runs from I-25 to Tower Road in Aurora.
Here are some of the highlights of the project:
- Up to two new express toll lanes in each direction
- Removal of the 50-year-old bridge from Brighton Boulevard to Colorado Boulevard
- Highway below ground, with a four-acre landscaped cover over the Interstate by Swansea Elementary School.
“Right now that bridge is like a divider,” said Fernando Torrez, who has lived in his Swansea home for 47 years.
He’ll be glad to see the elevated portion of I-70 go—along with the traffic gridlock. “It's really heavy traffic anymore ... didn’t use to be that way. But it is now, bumper-to-bumper even in the morning now,” he said.
It is a goal bringing together minds from all over the world. Each hopeful about a future with CDOT--and bringing drivers an I-70 that wins their affection.
CDOT will select a partner in the fall of 2016, with construction starting late the same year or early 2017.