Big I-25 Milestone Reached
There was a lot of press coverage last week about the Colorado Department of Transportation and a contractor reaching agreement on a contract to widen I-25 between Highway 14 (Mulberry) in Fort Collins and Highway 402 just south of Loveland.
In some ways this is old news, while at the same time it’s an important milestone.
It’s old news in the sense this has been in the works since last spring and summer. A contractor bid process was supposed to lead to a contractor being named at the end of August. None of the 3 bidders met CDOT’s cost point. That kicked it into a new iteration of the bid process. Again, on November 16 when the second round of bids were opened none of the contractors met the price.
One of the contractors – Kraemer/IHC Joint Venture – met most of the key criteria which led to CDOT designating them as the ‘apparent selected contractor.’ In the subsequent negotiations, the state and the contractor came to terms. The bid price was $20M higher than what was budgeted but the state’s High-Performance Transportation Enterprise board committed $14.5M and the balance came from the Colorado Bridge Enterprise.
The news reports last week announce the formal decision that had been in-process for months.
In July or so Kraemer will begin staging equipment for the project. Construction may begin later in the year. The plan is to have an additional lane each way by the end of 2020.
The new lane will be an express lane. That means there is a toll for using it unless you are in a high occupancy vehicle of 3 or more. The tolls will help pay for the loan taken out by the state to finance the construction. The express lane has the benefit of providing trip reliability if you really need to get to DIA or Denver and back. But, you don’t have to use the lane. You can learn more about the express lane on North I-25 here.
Also last week, the City of Fort Collins, land owners and CDOT agreed to a plan to improve the Prospect Road intersection. You can read more about that here.
Next up is the legislative session, which starts tomorrow, and two independent efforts to put transportation measures on the ballot in November. We are asking the Legislature to commit $300M from the state’s general fund to transportation.
The two ballot measures are still being worked on. The Denver Chamber is angling for a sales tax increase (probably sales tax; they haven’t actually declared yet) and Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute is promoting a measure called “Fix Our Damn Roads” which allocates existing state resources to roads.
Anyway, it was a good week for Northern Colorado regarding transportation.