News

CDOT Announces a Redraft of Environmental Document Guiding Outcome on I-70 East Corridor

May 31, 2012 - Denver Metro Colorado/CDOT Region 6 - DENVER--The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is announcing that it will be redrafting the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that serves as the basis for future improvements to the Interstate 70 East Corridor from Brighton Boulevard to Tower Road in Denver.

After failing to gain support for a solution, the Department presented a new alternative to the public in early May that would replace the elevated viaduct portion of I-70 with a

lowered highway that includes a partial cover to better address public concerns.  The new alternative emerged after CDOT and FHWA spent several months reviewing previously considered alternatives. Over 400 people attended two public meetings earlier this month to learn about the new alternative and provide their comments on whether it is preferable to an existing option to rebuild the elevated viaduct in essentially the same location.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot of support for the new alternative so we are going to proceed with the engineering, analysis and planning work necessary to turn this into a viable alternative for consideration in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),” said Don Hunt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation.  “I want to thank community members and local elected officials for their participation and input.  They convinced us this was the right thing to do.  We heard their concerns and we believe taking down the viaduct and lowering the highway is worth the extra expense and are committed to moving this alternative forward.”

Initiated in 2003, the I-70 East Corridor EIS Project includes the viaduct between Brighton Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard while the project limits extend to Tower Road.  The 48-year-old viaduct is deteriorating and must be replaced to maintain public safety and accommodate today’s traffic demands.  A 2008 draft EIS proposed either replacing the viaduct (causing a north or south shift of the structure into adjoining neighborhoods) or realigning the highway along I-270 and through the Elyria neighborhood.  Controversy around the viaduct alternatives presented in the EIS, together with comments made by the public, led CDOT to the introduction of a new compromise alternative that was more responsive to public input. CDOT will now be redrafting the EIS to include the new lowered highway alternative.

The new alternative includes a “cap” over the highway, which is about two blocks long in length that could serve as a park, open green space or something else to be determined.  CDOT will be working with the community in the coming months to shape the location of the cap and the possible uses.  Public input also will be requested on other design elements of the new alternative as well as on options to mitigate the project’s impact to the surrounding community, including business and residential relocations, historic properties, connectivity and Swansea Elementary School.

As CDOT proceeds with analyzing this alternative, rebuilding the elevated viaduct will also be carried forward through this next phase as CDOT did receive public comment that supported this alternative as well.  CDOT will work with the community to identify the impacts and benefits of these two alternatives and collect additional public input on both alternatives in this next phase of the EIS.

The City and County of Denver, which has been heavily engaged in this project from the beginning, will play an important role in shaping the final alternative.

“I want to recognize all the members of our community and our City team who have been working hand-in-hand with CDOT for many years on this critical corridor,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “I want to thank CDOT for its willingness to take stakeholder input to heart and consider this alternative. I encourage the community to continue engaging with CDOT and the City as we work to find the right balance for the surrounding neighborhood while positively transforming this well-travelled portion of I-70.”

CDOT estimates the next phase of the environmental process will last approximately two years, a process that will include detailed design, rewriting the draft EIS, and additional public meetings and opportunities for public comment.

To learn more about the I-70 East project, including the new alternative, visit www.i-70east.com/ or call the project hotline at 303-757-9413.

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