COLORADO SPRINGS — A major road project is on the Colorado Springs City Council agenda this week. The two-phase Powers expansion to Interstate 25 is expected to cost millions, but the money will not be coming from the city.
Two intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) will be presented to City Council; the city would be entering into those with the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the obligations would be passed to an Urban Renewal Authority.
News 5 spoke with one man who said he has lived in Colorado Springs his entire life, and the roads were not always so crowded.
"Lot of people I work with drive Powers, and they say it's just as bad as 25," said Jeremy Freng, who works in Northern Colorado Springs.
Those with the Colorado Springs Public Works Department said the Powers expansion project would help with that congestion.
"First phase will go from I-25 to Voyager Parkway, that's up at the northerly end. And then the second phase will be from Voyager Parkway south, to the current Powers or State Highway 21 terminus," Public Works Director Travis Easton said.
Easton said the new roads would serve as a bypass, and a connection from east to west.
"Powers will cut under here [Spectrum Loop Bridge], eventually it will go under Voyager," Easton said.
The public works director also said the first phase will cost around $55 million, and the second phase around $70 million. Easton said the money would be coming from an Urban Renewal Authority, called Copper Ridge.
Essentially, the Urban Renewal Authority is a group of businesses near where the first phase would happen, in the Polaris Pointe complex. A chunk of their sales taxes can fund public improvements, according to those with public works, and in this case that money will go to the Powers expansion.
"More customers to Bass Pro Shop for example, and things of that nature. So, the more access they have directly from pulling people from I-25 and bringing them through the development, obviously they can bring more people in," Easton said.
Plus, Easton said in 2040, the traffic volume at the intersection of Voyager Parkway and Northgate will be reduced by 20%. The number of cars going through the Voyager Parkway and Interquest intersection will also be reduced by 30% in 2040. Easton said this will help keep up with the growth Colorado Springs is experiencing.
"The ease of access to and from I-25 to the airport, to Peterson, to the Air Force Academy, all those impacts, especially taken collectively, are huge for the city," said Easton.
The IGA's will be heard at City Council on both Monday and Tuesday of this week. Easton said they are going back to back because the Copper Ridge Urban Renewal Authority wants to get their bonds to market, and start construction before winter.
If the IGA's are approved, construction for the first phase is expected to start in early October. Easton said they hope to see phase one completed by the end of next year, and phase two would begin right after that.