CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — All traffic lanes in the Interstate 25 Gap between Denver and Colorado Springs will open to drivers within the next few weeks, state leaders said Monday.
The opening comes nearly a year ahead of schedule, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said.
CDOT and contractor Kraemer North America broke ground on the $419 million project, which spans 18 miles between Castle Rock and Monument, in September 2018. They originally anticipated opening the new express lanes and completing major construction in November 2022.
In addition to the newly-added toll lanes, improvements to the stretch of interstate include wider shoulders, rebuilt bridges, new wildlife crossings, and new pavement.
> Video above: Animals using new Colorado animal crossings
CDOT said all travel lanes will be in their final alignment within the next few days. The exact opening date of the new lanes has not yet been announced, but CDOT said it will be shortly after Thanksgiving.
Over the next few weeks, crews will be finishing up paving, installing signs, sweeping, and striping the new lanes.
Once all of the lanes are open, drivers will be able to use the express lanes without paying a toll until testing is complete in fall 2022. Two general-purpose lanes in each direction will always remain free to travel.
Minor construction on the project will continue through the summer. That work includes final paving and striping operations in the middle section of the project near Larkspur, installation of deer guards near the interstate, and landscaping. Toll testing and integration will also be ongoing through 2022.
CDOT said the project includes the following improvements:
- Widening the highway from two to three lanes in each direction - the new lanes will operate as Express Lanes, scheduled to open with tolls waived in mid-December 2021
- Widening shoulders along the length of the 18 miles in both directions - DONE
- Rebuilding five bridges (Spruce Mountain Road, Upper Lake Gulch, Greenland and County Line Road bridges and bridge over Plum Creek) - DONE
- Overlaying all lanes with new pavement - base pavement done and the final layer will be installed beginning late spring of 2022
- Building four new wildlife crossings - DONE
- Improving and modernizing five interchanges along the corridor - DONE
- Installing 28 miles of deer fencing - complete in early 2022
- Adding a southbound I-25 truck climbing lane at Monument Hill and a chain up station - DONE
- Adding an additional lane on northbound I-25 over Monument Hill and eliminating the left lane merge at CO 105 - DONE
- Modernizing communications and power along the corridor to enable future advanced technology - complete in 2022
- Installing and testing toll infrastructure - complete in fall 2022
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