3rd southbound Fillmore-GoG lane to open in July
But CDOT driver-safety concerns could delay opening of new I-25 northbound lane up to a year
Work was beginning this week to lay the final topcoat for the added traffic lanes for I-25 between Fillmore Street and Garden of the Gods Road as part of the
COSMIX project. This will mean drivers will have a third lane going southbound from Garden of the Gods, probably after the July 4 weekend.
As for the third northbound lane, Bill Badger, spokesman for COSMIX contractor Rockrimmon Constructors, said there will be a delay in opening it. The issue is complicated by the COSMIX work just north of Garden of the Gods, where Rockrimmon is continuing a complete rework of the interstate alignment in the area of Rockrimmon Boulevard and Nevada Avenue. Traffic is still just two lanes each way in that area, and there's a concern about a chokepoint if northbound traffic goes from three lanes to two at that point, Badger explained.
“People are hoping for instant relief, and they will get relief when we're done with the whole corridor,” he said. “But when you pinch in traffic coming into a construction area, it almost makes things worse.”
The best-case scenario would have the third northbound lane open about two weeks after the southbound lane opens. This assumes that Rockrimmon Constructors and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) agree that it would be safe. Part of the decision depends on how smoothly motorists handle the new two- to-three-lane transition going south, Badger said.
Rockrimmon Construc-tors' idea is to ease the “pinch” by striping the northbound lanes so that the rightmost of the three lanes would go away at the off-ramp for Garden of the Gods Road.
In a worst-case scenario, the new northbound traffic lane - despite being topcoated and striped for use - would be coned off from motorists for approximately a year (until the Rockrim-mon/Nevada lanes are in), Badger said.
The Rockrimmon-Nevada interstate work is so extensive that by the end of summer motorists will be detoured to frontage roads on both sides of the interstate to allow crews to undertake efforts that include eight new bridges and two miles of retaining walls.
North of Rockrimmon is a relatively simple widening that will provide three lanes each way up to Academy Boulevard by this fall, Badger said.
The additional lanes along the roughly 1 ˝-mile stretch between Fillmore and Garden of the Gods were actually laid in last fall. However, it was too cold then to put in the topcoat, and the word at the time was that at the earliest consistent warm weather (possibly even in April) that work might be done and the new lanes opened. This is the first time that the pinch-in issue for northbound traffic has arisen.
Westside Pioneer article