Hearings consider the critical state of transportation in Colorado

Move ColoradoDENVER, CO – Today, the Colorado House and Senate transportation committees convened the first in a series of joint hearings examining the critical state of Colorado’s transportation system. The I-70 West corridor was the focus of the first educational forum, which is one of the most heavily traveled corridors in Colorado.

“We have many new leaders at the State Capitol with many talents and much energy to make Colorado a healthy and vibrant community for us all,” said Don Hunt, executive director of CDOT. “These educational forums are a critical step in informing our state legislators on the importance of transportation to our state’s economy, workers, and families.”

“The I-70 West corridor is the foundation of Colorado’s tourist industry and essential to the health of our economy,” said Tony Milo, Executive Director of the Colorado Contractors Association and Move Colorado board member. “Increasing congestion is costing us billions of dollars that could be invested in our highways, bridges and transit options. We’re counting on our legislative leaders to share this message with their constituents and work to find a statewide solution to fund our transportation system.”

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute estimates that traffic congestion costs Denver $1.6 billion.[1] According to CDOT, if nothing is done to increase mobility on I-70, congestion will only get worse. When compared to traffic levels in 2000, by 2035:[2]

  • Weekend travel time will be about three times higher;
  • Weekday travel time will more than double;
  • Traffic will be especially congested between Copper Mountain and Denver on weekends, requiring two more hours to make that trip during weekend peak hours. On weekdays, the morning and afternoon peak periods will experience an extra 1 hour and 35 minutes.
  • The Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels are expected to have 55 percent more weekend traffic. Weekday demand at the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels is expected to increase 85 percent.

CDOT has already begun preparing for a project to widen the I-70 Twin Tunnels. Construction crews are blasting in advance of the project to help ensure that traffic continues to flow throughout construction in 2013. The goal of the project is to improve mobility and safety, and allow for managed lanes in the future. During construction:

  • A detour will be in place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
  • Two lanes, both east and westbound, will always be open during peak travel times; and
  • Pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained along CR 314.

Future Hearings
All hearings are at the Colorado State Capitol, Room HCR112 at 7:30am unless otherwise noted.

Mar. 7th – Transportation Funding 101: Guest Presenter – CDOT and CCI
Mar. 14th – Economic Development: Guest Presenters – CCA, ACEC, et al
Mar. 21st – Ports-to-Plains: Guest Presenters – Ports-to-Plains and Agricultural Community
Mar. 28th – Transit/RTD: Guest Presenters – RTD and CASTA
April 4th – Alternative funding including tolling, VMT, and P3’s: Guest Presenter – TBD

These hearings are open to the public and members of the media. Move Colorado strongly encourages your participation. To stay informed, please subscribe to our newsletter at MoveColorado.org.

For more information, contact Melissa Osse at Melissa@movecolorado.net or (720) 473-9399.

[1] Texas A&M Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report for 2012
[2] I-70 Mountain Corridor Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, page ES-3.

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