COLORADO, USA — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on Tuesday provided an update to the public on the progress to the Interstate 25 Gap Project.
CDOT Spokesperson Tamara Rollison announced that five miles of the project are scheduled to be completed this fall. The finished portion will be between Plum Creek Parkway and Sky View Lane.
The $350 million, 18-mile project that aims to improve I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock by widening the highway from two to three lanes in each direction is broken down into three sections, I-25 South Gap Project Director Paul Neiman said: the north, middle and south.
The north section is a five-mile stretch that starts just south of Castle Rock to Sky View Lane, Neiman said during the presentation.
Crews started work on the northern section of the project first as it was the least complex of the three, Neiman said.
The south section is a seven-mile portion that runs from Greenland Road to Monument, according to Neiman. This section has three wildlife crossings, two bridge replacements and a truck climbing lane on southbound I-25 along Monument Hill.
The middle section, which is the most complex, will have three bridge replacements and one wildlife crossing, according to Neiman. This section stretches from Sky View Lane to Greenland Road, about six miles of the project.
At the end of August, CDOT began the closure of the Monument Hill Frontage Road, Neiman said during the media briefing. The closure of the frontage road will last for seven months.
Drivers can still expect to see lane closures, various overnight ramp closures and continued long-term ramp closures at Upper Lake Gulch and Spruce Mountain roads, according to Neiman.
The biggest problems crews have noticed in the project's work zone is unsafe driving, Rollison said.
Sixty-six percent of crashes on the Gap are caused by rear-end collisions, resulting in nearly 80% of injury-related crashes, Rollison said.
Drivers are encouraged to leave proper distance between vehicles and follow posted speed limits, Rollison said.
CDOT asks drivers to avoid driving the Gap in bad weather. Rollison said drivers heeded the department's warnings last winter, and that resulted in reduced crashes and closures in the project work area.
Bustang services through the project resumed back in June. Each bus had limited capacity to promote social distancing.
A telephone town hall has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6:30 p.m. This town hall is for the public to get the latest news on the gap project. To join the town hall, call 855-710-6230.
The I-25 South Gap project broke ground on Labor Day in 2018 and remains on schedule to conclude in 2022.
CDOT said the new lane will operate as an Express Lane, allowing motorists the choice of taking the Express Lane for a faster, more reliable travel time in exchange for a toll. Express Lanes will be free to vehicles with three or more people and motorcycles. All travelers will have the choice of taking the general-purpose lanes for free, according to the department.
The project also includes shoulder widening, rebuilding bridges, new wildlife crossings, resurfacing with new pavement and modernizing technology.
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