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Contractor selection announced for Cimarron/I-25;
$116 million project could start before April

       With the selection of a contractor Feb. 26, groundbreaking on the Cimarron/I-25 reconstruction project could occur in less than a month.
       Kraemer North America (Kraemer) and Tsiouvaras Simmons Holderness (TSH) are the “apparent successful proposing team,” according to a press release from Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) spokesperson Bob Wilson.
       He clarified in a phone interview that the word “apparent” was only used because the final contract has not yet been signed. He did not see a problem with that happening, saying it's normal procedure on CDOT contracts and it will probably take "about four weeks" to work out the necessary details. At that point, CDOT will give the contractor what's legally termed a “notice to proceed," meaning work can commence.
       Wilson's press release states that project construction “will begin west of I-25, with utility relocation and bridge and
Looking west from the Cimarron-Conejos bridge, the current Cimarron/I-25 interchange can be seen as motorists turn left onto the northbound ramp.
Westside Pioneer file photo
embankment work. The intent is to complete as much work as possible prior to significantly impacting traffic along I-25 in early 2016.”
       In conjunction with the selection announcement, CDOT revealed a new, anticipated completion date of Dec. 1, 2017. A year ago, the state agency had set a tentative date of July 2017. However, construction costs have gone up an average of 20 percent in the past year, and those “funding issues are what caused it to become Dec. 1,” Wilson said in the interview.
       The project will not only provide a new interchange and ramp layout, but the structure itself will move about 40 feet west, CDOT officials have previously pointed out. Corresponding with that will be a westward freeway realignment from about a quarter-mile south of the interchange to the Colorado Avenue overpass (which was replaced in the I-25 widening project of 2005-07 called COSMIX).
       “At $116.1 million, this will be the second largest highway construction project in the Pikes Peak region since COSMIX,” Wilson's press release explains. It adds that more than 150,000 vehicles travel through the interchange daily, “making it one of the region's busiest.”
       The Cimarron/I-25 job has been designed by CDOT to a 20 percent level. The stated intent is that the contractor - working with the state - will work out the remaining details in the field. Engineers call this process “design/build,” and say it is cost-effective in certain types of projects. COSMIX was similar, with a design/build mix of 30-70 percent, Wilson said.
       His press release continues that the “contractor team selection was a lengthy process, with three teams shortlisted in May 2014. The shortlisted teams were then asked to provide proposals through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. In addition to Kraemer/TSH, proposals were received from the teams of Flatiron Constructors, Inc./Figg Engineering Group, and Parsons Corporation/Wildcat Construction Co., Inc.”
       The press release states that Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc., (Kraemer) is headquartered in Plain, Wisconsin, and has "more than 100 years of highway and bridge construction experience." Its Colorado regional office is located in Castle Rock. The company has done several state projects in Colorado, with local projects including the Powers Boulevard design/build project, Woodmen Road widening and Woodmen/Academy interchange project.
       Tsiouvaras Simmons Holderness (TSH) is a Colorado-based engineering design firm founded in 2005. It too has been a contractor on several projects around the state, including Powers Boulevard.
       Funding for Cimarron/I-25 is coming from a variety of federal and state funds, plus an $8 million local match ($7 million from the city and $1 million from the county).
       The current interchange was built in 1959. A replacement has been a regional planning priority for years, but funding was elusive until a little over a year ago.

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 2/26/15, updated 3/13/15; Transportation: Cimarron/I-25)

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