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Feb 23, 2012 7:48 PM by David Ortiviz

I-25 project would close exits, displace businesses

When it happens, probably years from now, a project to straighten I-25 in Pueblo will cause a lot of change for adjacent property owners. There are mounting concerns about access to businesses, while some may be forced to relocate.

In a snapshot, the $760 million project will straighten the interstate, replace old bridges and add more lanes.

During a presentation by the Colorado Department of Transportation in Pueblo today the topic of displacing more than a 150 land owners was briefly touched on.

Seven miles of interstate will be realigned, all for the sake of improving safety. However, the improvements come at a cost.

Cliff Brice, Vidmar Motors, Moore Automotive, among many others will be forced to move. They'll be offered "fair market value" according to CDOT, but to some it's big government taking what they want.

"CDOT is looking at it as a safety issue, we have to look at it from a reality issue of what it's going to do to our businesses in the long run and during construction," said Mark Mihelich, a Pueblo resident and business owner.

Another big concern is that direct access to businesses will be hindered. Under the plan some exits will go away including Indiana, Minnequa and 1st St.

Other exits, including may be relocated. For example Ilex would be replaced with an exit at Santa Fe. Central exit would be replaced with an exit at Northern.

Also, at 29th St. the southbound exit will disappear. "It's going to be a real issue for any businesses on 29th as to how customers are going to be able to access their properties in a convenient way," said Tammy Fesmire, with Sunflower Bank.

When this will all happen remains uncertain. There's funding right now to replace bridges at both Ilex and Northern, but the rest could take years to complete. "It could be as early as 10 years it could be 30 years before we actually do anything," according to a CDOT representative.

You can review the proposed changes by clicking this link: New Pueblo Freeway

 

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