Schedule/cost changes listed for other future Westside transportation projects

       A story in the Jan. 17 Westside Pioneer discussed the recently projected, far-off construction dates for the Cimarron/I-25 interchange and expansion of Highway 24 west to Manitou Springs.
       New dates have also been tentatively scheduled for other regional transportation projects, including several on the Westside. Sources for the information are the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) draft for its new Transportation Improve-ment Plan and updated estimates in the 2008 budget of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA). The dates appear below, followed by the anticipated range of years in which the Westside projects would be built:
  • Fillmore widening to six lanes from I-25 to Centennial Boulevard, 2013-2014.
  • Garden of the Gods Road/Chestnut Street intersection upgrade, 2013-2014.
  • New 25th Street bridge over Fountain Creek, 2013-2014.
  • Garden of the Gods/Forge Road intersection upgrade, 2016-2025.
  • Uintah Street safety improvements (add sidewalk and bike lane to north side between Cooper Street and Mesa Road), 2016-2025.
  • Centennial Boulevard (city portion of four-lane extension from Fillmore Street to Fontanero/I-25 interchange), 2016-2025.
  • New Fillmore/I-25 interchange, 2021-2025.
           Since these projects were presented to the public in 2004, another major change has been in their estimated costs. The reason is a federally mandated formula that assumes a 4 percent increase each year, the PPACG document notes.
           The list below gives the name of the project (with the old cost estimate in parentheses) followed by the new estimate:
  • Fillmore widening ($4.8 million), $6.4 million.
  • GoG/Chestnut ($375,000), $497,000.
  • 25th/ Fountain Creek ($350,000), $464,000.
  • GoG/Forge ($436,000), $840,000.
  • Uintah ($900,000), $1.8 million.
  • Centennial ($11.6 million), $22.6 million.
  • Fillmore interchange ($40 million), $84 million.
           Regarding the envisioned Westside Highway 24 improvements, as reported Jan. 17, these are now expected not to occur any sooner than 2016 (starting with an Eighth Street interchange in conjunction with a new interchange at Cimarron/I-25, according to current priorities) and finish no later than 2035. Asked if this longer time frame will impact the current state planning effort for Highway 24, Mary Jo Vobejda of CH2M HILL, the lead consultant for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), said no. The idea is to submit an Environmental Assessment (EA) to the federal government in 2009; if approved, the EA would remain valid as long as it is periodically reviewed and renewed.
           As for the cost differences (also reported Jan. 17) between CDOT's previously announced $240 million project cost and the current estimates which are about double that amount, Vobejda said in an e-mail, “Project cost estimates are done in current year dollars until a preferred alternative, a phasing plan and construction years are determined. When those three things are determined, costs will be calculated in the future construction year dollars. We have not done these cost estimates at this time because we do not have a preferred alternative, a phasing plan or construction years.”
           Clarification: In the Jan. 17 article, a reader was not clear on a paragraph describing the suggested use of Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) funding to build the “Cimarron interchange.” In the context, that term referred to the combined project being proposed for the Cimarron/I-25 and Eighth Street/Highway 24 interchanges. County Commission Wayne Williams had said in an interview that federal and state funding probably would not be enough for all aspects of that project, and thus some of the cost could be covered as a new RTA capital project, assuming the entity is reapproved by voters in 2014.
           Correction: In a transportation story Dec. 27, it was stated that Propositions C and D passed in the 2006 election. C passed, but D failed, and it was in 2005.

    Westside Pioneer article