Jun 2, 2014 8:43 PM by Zach Thaxton
A project 43 years in the making is finally about to get started, but not before public input on the project begins on Tuesday. The interchange of Interstate 25 and U.S. 24/Cimarron Street has been identified as the region's "top" transportation priority since 1971, but full funding has never been available for the project until now.
The $95 million project is slated to begin in mid-2015 with completion slated for two years later. "No single source of funding has been big enough in the past, so what we've started doing now is taking smaller pieces of the funds as they become available, grouping them together to get these big projects knocked out, and this is a prime example of that," said Craig Casper, Regional Transportation Director for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments.
The current interchange, which features two intersections, a tight 180-degree "button hook" southbound offramp, and misaligned lanes on the I-25 bridge deck over Cimarron will be replaced, likely with a so-called "single point" interchange, a design similar to those at I-25 and Garden of the Gods Road as well as Austin Bluffs Parkway and Union Boulevard.
The public is invited to provide its input on other aspects of the interchange, including aesthetic elements, in a town hall forum Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the City Auditorium in downtown Colorado Springs. "We recognize that there is going to be some inconvenience to the public, so we're wanting to show (Tuesday) night the ways we want to try to minimize that to the best extent we can," said Dave Watt, a resident engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Casper points out that when I-25 and Cimarron were first identified as the top regional transportation construction priority, Powers Boulevard did not yet exist. Nor did Austin Bluffs Parkway. "They were dashed lines on a map," Casper said. "Literally thousands of (other) projects have been conceived of and built in the last 43 years."