Additional $250M Committed to North 1-25

Back in June I reported on an effort by Northern Colorado leaders to convince the Colorado Transportation Commission to direct more resources to North I-25. A delegation spoke to the Commission on June 21. We asked them to retain $200M already committed to North I-25 that had been contingent upon receiving a federal grant that did not come through. We also asked them to move all of North I-25 from Longmont (actually Highway 66 north of Longmont) to Highway 14 (Mulberry) in Fort Collins to the Tier 1 project list (i.e. the Colorado Department of Transportation’s top priority list).

The first item was done in June.

Then last week the Commission set aside $250M more for preparing the footprint of the stretch from Highway 402 just south of Loveland to Highway 14 to accommodate an eventual 4th lane.

This is a big win for Northern Colorado. With construction slated to begin this summer on that stretch of interstate, we’re already looking ahead. The 4th lane will be needed within the next 10-12 years and as things stood, we were not in line for additional funding until long after the interstate failed again.

By way of background, an additional lane each way that will be built over the next 3 years between Fort Collins and Loveland is an express toll lane. It’s then anticipated that a 4th lane – a ‘free’ one i.e. not toll – will be needed by 2031 or so as the population continues to grow. But that stretch was not on CDOT’s Tier 1 list, meaning that it would not have the funding until long, long after North I-25 had become a parking lot.

Now the final part of the equation is to secure a commitment from CDOT on what will trigger the construction of the 4th lane when it is needed in 10 years or so. CDOT has agreed to provide us with a written assurance for a 10 year plan of action for the corridor.  How that assurance is structured will be an essential component for consideration as we finalize our position on the transportation funding measures on the fall ballot.

That’s another point to understand: the above is contingent on passage of a .62 state sales tax for transportation. The Fort Collins Area Chamber and none of the other chambers of commerce or economic development organizations in the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance have taken a final position on that measure or the one called Fix Our Damn Roads. It’s anticipated we’ll consider a position in August or September.