Construction on $1.2B Denver I-70 expansion to begin in 2018
- The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced that construction on the $1.2 billion expansion of a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 70 through Denver will begin in the spring of 2018, according to The Denver Channel.
- The project — which is the largest transportation undertaking in state history — will see the demolition of a 53-year-old bridge, as well as the re-routing of 2 miles of the interstate 30 feet underground. The CDOT is building a 4-acre park over the below-grade portion of the highway.
- Work is expected to last four to five years and will generate up to 5,000 new jobs, 20% of which are earmarked for local residents. Another condition of the construction contract is that the contractor chosen for the project must provide job training.
The Federal Highway Administration approved the project back in January, at which time the CDOT said it would deliver the new expansion under a public-private partnership (P3) that will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the completed highway. The agency has been trying to get the project off the ground for 14 years but has had to deal with a series of legal challenges related to it. According to Fox 31 News in Denver, the CDOT has narrowed the list of potential P3 firms to four.
Construction will necessitate the demolition of 56 homes and 17 businesses, and some in the community have pushed back against that plan, calling it gentrification of a largely Hispanic area of the city. The CDOT has maintained that the park will restore interconnectivity between neighborhoods that were divided when the existing interstate was built. The interstate expansion itself is expected to ease congestion for commuters and the 12,000 businesses that use the corridor.
Denver is also taking on a massive project at its airport. Earlier this month, airport officials announced that they were in the final stages of negotiations with Spain-based Ferrovial for a $1 billion P3 contract to build a new terminal. If approved by the Denver City Council next month, it will be the biggest P3 in the city's history.
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