New tolled express lanes near Denver nearing construction

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 12/11/2015

Plans for new toll lanes are moving along for a nearly 14-mile stretch of State Highway 470 (C-470) near Denver. The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have found “no significant impact” in the latest environmental assessment.

The proposed action includes one tolled express lane on C-470 in each direction between Kipling Parkway and Interstate 25 in the southern portion of the Denver metro area, according to the report. Additional tolled express lanes will be built westbound from I-25 to Lucent Boulevard and eastbound from Broadway to I-25.

Estimated to cost nearly $400 million, construction is expected to begin in mid-2016 and to be completed by early-2019, CDOT Project Director Jerome Estes confirmed to Land Line.

According to the assessment, traffic congestion on C-470 has been a concern for more than a decade. Data from 2013 revealed average speeds on the highway during peak evening times were 24 mph. Posted speeds in the area are 65 mph. Installing express lanes would maintain speeds in excess of 55 mph 90 percent of the time, with relatively slower speeds during peak travel times.

The Denver Regional Council of Governments estimated that delays on C-470 will increase from 6,650 hours (2006 data) of vehicle delay daily to 41,940 daily hours of delay by 2035. If no action is taken, the report estimates that travel time will increase to 32-33 minutes from the current 13 minutes.

Toll rates have not been established. However, CDOT indicated an anticipated cost of $4-6 during peak periods. Transponders and license plate cameras are expected to be used for automated billing.

The initial environmental assessment was approved in 2006. However, CDOT and FHWA did not move forward because of several factors, including a lack of funding. Approximately five years later, the C-470 Corridor Coalition was established by cities and counties in affected areas.

For more information, visit the project website.

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