Breaking News
More () »

Broomfield intends to withdraw from the Jefferson Parkway Highway Authority

The withdrawal is in large part due to concerns about high levels of plutonium that were found last year.

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Broomfield City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to approve a resolution that provides their notice of intent to withdraw from the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA).

The JPPHA was formed by the City and County of Broomfield, Jefferson County and the City of Arvada in May 2008.

The parkway would be constructed on what was the easterly most 300 feet of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, which was once was home to a nuclear weapons plant.

The Rocky Flats Plant was located 16 miles northwest of downtown Denver between Arvada and Superior in Jefferson County. The industrial facility used plutonium to build triggers for nuclear weapons for 40 years. The site underwent an extensive clean-up project that finished in 2005 and cost $7 billion dollars.

> The video above aired last August when the plutonium soil testing results were made public.

The JPPHA purchased the small portion of the Rocky Flats needed for the roadway from the federal government for right-of-way (ROW) for the project.

In early 2019, Broomfield City Council requested that the JPPHA conduct soil sampling along the ROW adjacent to Rocky Flats. 

RELATED: A soil sample near Rocky Flats had 5 times the cleanup standard for plutonium. Here's why you shouldn't freak out.

The results were made public in August 2019, and a soil sample with plutonium levels more than five times the remedial action level from the Rocky Flats Closure Plan was detected. However, a second test of the same soil showed much lower levels, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

"Based on the information we have so far, our state experts and toxicologists do not believe there is an immediate public health threat," the CDPHE said in a letter to community members in August.

"We do believe that further sampling and analysis is needed to assess what this elevated sample may mean for long-term risks, and whether it is an isolated instance or a sign of a wider area of relatively high contamination. We are taking the sample result seriously because it is much higher than previous samples in the vicinity and higher than the cleanup standard."

Under the contract approved in 2008, any member who wants to withdraw from the authority must notify the board in writing of their intent. 

Unanimous consent of the board is required for approval of the withdrawal as long as two originating governmental units continue to participate in the authority, the contract says.

Everyone involved must work out provisions of the withdrawal before it can become effective, according to the contract.

Construction of the privately-funded, publicly-owned regional toll road has been planned for decades with construction expected to begin this year.

However, in September, Broomfield City Council said on its website that due to the test results the project was "not moving forward" and said there were "no on-going activities" to further the selection of a private partner roadway.

RELATED: Jefferson Parkway project stalled following test that shows elevated plutonium levels nearby

With the vote by Broomfield City Council Tuesday night, the future of the project is unclear. 


Before You Leave, Check This Out