DENVER – Sick of traffic on Interstate 25? It just keeps getting worse.
And there’s not much CDOT can do about it at the moment.
A recent study by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project found traffic on I-25 is already far more congested than it was before 2001’s TREX expansion project began construction.
The study from SWEEP found that congestion on I-25 in the south metro area dropped quite a bit in the years after the construction was completed in 2006. But about 2 years later, congestion was already back at pre-construction levels. And, today, congestion is even worse.
Obviously, traffic is much worse because more people are moving here. But, Will Toor from SWEEP says the problem may also be complicated by the expansion itself.
“This phenomenon of induced demand…where when you widen a highway and all of a sudden there’s excess capacity not too surprisingly people look at that and say I’m going to use it,” he said.
So where does CDOT go from here? Next year they plan to roll out a new pilot project called Smart 25, which will improve metering systems on highway entrance ramps.
The new meters will communicate with sensors in the pavement that monitor traffic flow. CDOT says in other areas of the world where these sensors have been installed traffic flows have improved by 20 percent, which would essentially equal a new lane.
CDOT plans to roll them out in mid to late 2017 in the northbound lanes only, from the Ridgegate area to University.
Also a long way down the road, CDOT says self-driving technology in cars will also improve congestion.