8th Street interchange to lead off Hwy 24 work

       The Eighth Street interchange is slated to be the first project in the planned $230 million Westside Highway 24 expansion, according to the US 24 West Environmental Assessment (EA) that was released for review in late May.

Exhibit 3.6 of the US 24 West Environmental Assessment (EA) shows sites where property acquisitions are needed for right of way in the envisioned expansion project. The state is required to pay fair market value and relocate property owners if the taking is significant enough. Not displayed in the exhibit (but shown elsewhere in the EA) is a swath along the west side of 31st Street.
Courtesy of Colorado Department of Transportation and CH2M Hill

       A public hearing on the document, prepared by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will be Monday, June 11 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. - including a presentation from 5:30 to 6 - at the Community Partnership for Child Development office, 2330 Robinson St.
       The project scope, also including an interchange at 21st Street and expansion from four to six lanes from 21st to Ridge Road, is between I-25 and Ridge.
       “The 8th Street and US 24/I-25 interchanges are the highest priority on the US 24 corridor because this complex serves both local and regional motorists, and currently experiences the most congestion,” reads Section 2.5 of the EA.
       The idea is to coordinate the work as much as possible with a separately planned CDOT reconstruction of the I-25/Cimarron interchange about a third of a mile east of Eighth Street, elaborated Dave Watt, lead engineer on the US 24 West effort. No time frame has been set for the Highway 24/Eighth Street construction, although the EA notes that the region's Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) includes the proposal that $3 million be put toward “final design activities” as early as 2013.
       The interchange, in which the highway would go over Eighth Street, would mean the elimination of the Colorado Place shopping center at the southwest corner as well as commercial activity at the southeast corner (formerly the Express Inn, it's currently inactive). The northside corners would be less affected. The Midland Trail would be slightly relocated (and get rebuilt with an “undercrossing” at the interchange), the EA states.
       A benefSit to highway users would be no longer facing a stoplight at Eighth.
       The project would also rebuild or replace the two Fountain Creek bridges near the interchange.
       After the Eighth Street interchange project is complete, US 24 West would continue west toward the 21st Street interchange, which would also have the highway going over the top.
       As at Eighth, there is no clear schedule for the actual construction at 21st, nor for any of the rest of the corridor. “Moving Forward,” a separate regional document that lists project priorities by dates, suggests that Eighth might not occur until 2020 and 21st Street not until 2030. “It depends on how the funding comes in,” Watt said.
       Also, noted CDOT staffer Cheryl Everitt, economic or social changes could alter the methodical east-to-west construction pattern, for example, if private development occurred in the Ridge Road area, making traffic upgrades there a priority.
       The EA public hearing is required in the CDOT-FHWA process to get the project scope approved.

Westside Pioneer article