DENVER — Opposition to the expansion of Interstate 70 through the metro area remains strong.
Dozens of people came out Sunday to continue fighting the expansion project they say is too expensive and won’t do much to reduce traffic congestion.
The Colorado Department of Transportation built the section of I-70 in the 1960s. CDOT plans to rebuild what’s considered the worst-rated bridge starting early next year.
That is, unless, a group with their “Ditch the Ditch” signs can halt it.
“We’d like to see some better solutions,” a protester with a megaphone said outside City Park Golf Course.
“It’s the most expensive project in the state of Colorado. It’s not going to solve the problems. It’s a taxpayer-financed toll road,” said Brad Evans, who’s a critic of the highway project.
The $2 billion project will replace the decades-old viaduct with a lowered highway between Brighton and Colorado boulevards, with a toll lane added in each direction.
The highway would then be capped with four acres of parkland on top.
“In the process, there will be a drainage ditch put in here on the west side of the park,” said LaMone Noles, president of City Park Friends and Neighbors.
She joined those opposed to the project with those behind the push to save City Park Golf Course.
“My biggest concern is the ditch is in violation of the city charter, which protects public parks in the city and county of Denver,” Noles said.
The group said the project will use part of City Park Golf Course for stormwater detention to help protect the lowered part of the new highway.
CDOT said the detention area being built is a city of Denver project. It will involve the closure of the golf course for 18 months and will include a redesign of the century-old layout.
It’s part of a broader drainage plan in Denver.
“We do not want the park, the golf course, destroyed. They are going to lose over 200 trees. They’re gonna get cut down,” Noles said.
And they say neighbors will have to deal with five years of construction and resulting traffic and environmental pollution.
It is a massive project, moving massive amounts of people that some say is just a destination to wasted taxpayer money.
“Is this the best use of our public money?” Evans asked.
According to CDOT, it is. It has studied the project for 14 years, including having hundreds of community meetings.
It will start work on the project in about six months.
CDOT says it “will remove a crumbling viaduct, reduce congestion and reconnect communities. CDOT is excited and ready to deliver these improvements to one of Colorado’s most critical interstates,” spokeswoman Rebecca White said.