Interchange replacement projects shift into high gear
Cimarron: Major earthwork, SB off-ramp relocation
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 in by mid-October. The work is part of the $113 million project to replace the 55-year-old interchange.
An opening date for the temp ramp has not been announced, but based on Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) information, it could be operational 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 yards will be needed to create an embankment for the new interchange, which will be 90 feet west of the current one.
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 states.
“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.
The overall completion target for the Cimarron interchange has been announced as December 2017.
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