Denver — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock were joined by community members, local cities and counties, federal and state agencies, and the construction team to break ground on the Central 70 Project. The project is the largest construction project in the state and is the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) second public-private partnership (P3).
The Central 70 Project — led by CDOT and the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) — will:
- reconstruct 10 miles of I-70 between Brighton Boulevard and Chambers Road;
- add one new Express Lane in each direction;
- remove the aging 54-year-old viaduct;
- lower the interstate between Brighton and Colorado boulevards; and
- place a 4-acre park over a portion of the lowered interstate.
Central 70 is the first of three Express Lanes projects expected to break ground this summer. The other two — I-25 South: Monument to Castle Rock; and I-25 North: Johnstown to Fort Collins — will break ground within the next couple months.
“Today’s groundbreaking reflects our commitment to have our infrastructure meet the needs demanded by the country’s number one economy,” Hickenlooper said. “This corridor of Interstate 70 has served the state well, but it’s time to no longer depend on a 54-year-old stretch of interstate to handle the demands of a growing and mobile state.”
The governor and other speakers noted that Central 70 serves one of the state’s fastest-growing corridors, which is projected to grow at a faster pace than the region as a whole over the next decade. Today, I-70 carries upwards of 200,000 vehicles per day, including commercial and shipping traffic, as well as commuter and tourist vehicles.
“This groundbreaking is a great milestone for the Mile High City. It brings together relief for thousands of Denver-area commuters, cutting-edge technology that prepares Colorado for the future, and a beautiful new green space for local residents,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye Hendrickson.
The $1.2 billion Central 70 Project will create an estimated $17.8 billion in economic impacts and will create an estimated 5,000 Colorado jobs. It will also provide a significant economic boost to the communities most impacted by its construction. CDOT has directed Kiewit Meridiam Partners (KMP) to hire 20 percent of its workforce from zip codes adjacent to the highway.
Additionally, the Central 70 Project has created new workforce development and job training programs to train and support metro Denver workers in construction industry trades, and has facilitated opportunities for local small and disadvantaged business to participate.
“Investments in transportation contribute to the economic vitality of the state of Colorado,” said Mike Lewis, CDOT executive director. “We saw this with T-REX in south Denver, and the Central 70 Project will be no exception.”
With construction anticipated to stretch through 2022, the Central 70 Project and KMP have pledged to minimize impacts to the adjacent communities and the traveling public. The project will be built in phases, and all lanes on the interstate must be kept open during daytime hours.
During the nearly 15-year planning process, CDOT worked closely with the community to determine the best solution for the congested and deteriorating highway. The Central 70 Project received final federal approval through the Record of Decision (ROD) in January 2017, and selected KMP as the P3 developer to design/build/finance/operate and maintain the project in August 2017. Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2022.
For more information on the Central 70 Project, visit https://codot.gov/projects/i70east.