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Major earthwork getting started for Cimarron/I-25 interchange project

A crane and other heavy construction equipment, which have been involved in building a temporary bridge over Fountain Creek (see photo below), sit roughly in the area where an embankment will be built about 90 feet west of I-25 (in the background) for the new interchange and interstate roadway. According to a CDOT press release, embankment work will be needed between Colorado Avenue (about an eighth of a mile to the north) and the Bear Creek Trail (about a quarter-mile south of the interchange). As part of that work, a temporary southbound off-ramp will be built down to Cimarron Street, starting in the area of the interstate shown here. This photo was taken from the south dead-end of Chestnut Street, just north of Cimarron.
Westside Pioneer photo
       A bridge being built over Fountain Creek just west of I-25 will eventually be part of a temporary, more direct southbound off-ramp at Cimarron/I-25.
       The bridge is to be complete by mid-October. The work is in conjunction with the $113.1 million project to replace the 55-year-old interchange at Cimarron/I-25.
       An opening date for the ramp itself has not been announced, but based on a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) press release, it could be operational by next spring. The current one, built with the original interchange in 1960, loops around to the south side of Cimarron.
       The temporary off-ramp will angle directly from I-25 to the north side of Cimarron just west of the interstate (typical of modern off-ramps). That's also the way the permanent southbound off-ramp will be aligned, although it will follow a slightly different line, which will allow the temporary version to be used while the new one's being built, explained Lesley Mace, CDOT project manager for the Cimarron project.
       A more direct off-ramp “provides trucks safer access” to the interchange, a CDOT press release notes. This is especially significant because the contractor, Kraemer North America, has identified the need for trucks to haul in “major fill” for the project, the release continues.
       Mace estimated that more than 100 cubic
The support beams were in place in August for a temporary bridge over Fountain Creek that will eventually carry traffic to Cimarron Street from a temporary southbound off-ramp. Cimarron Street and the Cimarron/I-25 interchange are in the background.
Westside Pioneer photo
yards will be needed to create an embankment for the new interchange, which will be 90 feet west of the current one. The interstate roadway a short distance to the north and south is also being moved to the west, in order to improve an I-25 curve between Tejon Street and Cimarron, CDOT has previously revealed.
       With work taking place at night, the embankment is being built up west of I-25 between Colorado Avenue and the Bear Creek Trail, the press release states.
       Mace said she expects “minimal” traffic impacts.
       Engineers have determined that the area designated for the new interchange has some wetness issues, having apparently once been the path of Monument- Fountain Creek. So it's not certain yet how much dirt will be needed and how much compacting it will require, Mace pointed out.
       “Constructing the embankment now will enable the ground to settle over the winter, expediting work next year to realign southbound I-25 to the west and helping ensure a quality final product,” the release adds.
       “This is an innovative approach to the project and was just one of the reasons that we selected Kraemer North America for this project, " said CDOT Resident Engineer Dave Watt in the press release, dated Aug. 28. “The bridge is being constructed over a quick six-week time frame and is designed so that when its original purpose is complete, it can be re-used for work on northbound I-25. It will be dismantled in about a week and when needed will be reconstructed on the other side of the interstate.”
       Continuing Cimarron/I-25 work includes vegetation removal, in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “This work is needed to facilitate Fountain Creek restoration, Midland Trail improvements and the earthwork along the west side of I-25,” the release adds.
       Temporary detours are in place for both the Midland and Bear Creek trails, which formerly crossed the interstate via underpasses.
       Contracted for $113 million, the interchange project got under way last April.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/31/15; Transportation: Cimarron/I-25)

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