Gov. John Hickenlooper has chosen a new driver for the Colorado Department of Transportation, but the agency doesn’t appear it will be changing lanes.

The Democratic governor on Monday picked Michael Lewis, CDOT’s deputy executive director and chief operating officer, to be the next executive director of the department after Shailen Bhatt leaves the organization in December to become president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. Lewis was set already to serve as interim executive director.

In his current role, Lewis has overseen policy and operational direction for the $1.4 billion department and its roughly, 3,000 employees. Previously, he served as director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and was project director for the $14.8 billion Big Dig project in Boston, which involved replacing the aged Boston Central expressway with new bridges across the Charles River and tunnels beneath Boston's Inner Harbor.

“Mike has a reputation as a problem solver and brings an incredible transportation background to CDOT at a time when our state is faced with significant transportation challenges,” Hickenlooper said. “His experience with some of the biggest projects in our state is critical as we build upon the success of the last few years.”

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