KUSA — A ceremonial groundbreaking celebration took place Thursday morning for a construction project that will widen a dangerous stretch of Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock. Gov. John Hickenlooper and other local officials were in attendance.
Drivers should expect slower speed limits, narrower lanes and nighttime lane closures after construction of the Interstate 25 South Gap project officially begins on September 4.
During construction, the Colorado Department of Transportation said two lanes of traffic will remain open in each direction during the daytime.
Plans include widening the road from two to three lanes in each direction along the 18-mile stretch of highway.
The new lanes will operate as Express Lanes. That means motorists can choose from taking one of the two general-purpose lanes for free or pay a toll to drive in an Express Lane. More details on toll pricing is expected to be released in the coming months.
Work will start on the northern end of the project near Castle Rock next month. By summer of 2019, the entire 18-mile corridor will be under construction.
The project will also widen the highway to allow more room for enforcement zones and for detours around crashes and other traffic problems.
CDOT said its hope is that the additional lanes will help reduce congestion and delays while helping to make more room for a growing population in the area. Two public hearings addressing concerns with the project were held in May following the release of an environmental assessment study.
The project is estimated to cost $350 million, according to CDOT. The El Paso County, Douglas County, Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and a federal grant are helping to fund the project.
Construction is expected to last through late 2021, with tolling set to start in 2022.