Upgrade for Clear Creek Canyon Communications

December 26, 2012 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Public/Private Partnership now providing cell phone, other services.

JEFFERSON/CLEAR CREEK/GILPIN COUNTIES – A recently-completed fiber optic project through Clear Creek Canyon now is providing cell phone and radio coverage into an area where it was previously unavailable.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) entered into an agreement earlier this year with wireless infrastructure provider Crown Castle International Corporation, which installed fiber and a Distributed Antenna System, consisting of 31 micro cellular sites along U.S. 6 between Golden and Interstate 70, and along SH 119, from U.S. 6 to near Black Hawk.

In addition to providing cell phone services for the traveling public, the new fiber optic line will allow CDOT to provide a variety of other services through the canyon, as funding allows, including:

  • Electronic message signs – providing real-time information on highway conditions, including trip travel times, giving drivers estimates on how long their trip will take
  • Closed circuit cameras – allowing for real-time traffic conditions to be relayed to travelers via www.cotrip.org and other websites and locations for traveler information
  • Digital radio system – providing two-way radio services for emergency response
  • Road and Weather Information Gathering System – Supplying CDOT Maintenance with road surface information, allowing for improved road treatment during inclement weather

As part of the agreement, CDOT owns the fiber, has power provided to the equipment and shares space on 32 poles along the route to install its infrastructure.  CDOT, in turn, is permitting Crown Castle to use its right-of-way for placement of its own shared fiber optic line.  Crown Castle will maintain the fiber line for 20 years, including repairs and emergency response to outages.  This aspect of the agreement is renewable.

“Providing cell phone coverage into this area enhances safety by eliminating a historic blind spot for CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol and other emergency service providers who didn’t, until now, even have radio coverage,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Tony DeVito.  “In addition, this partnership is saving the state about $7 million, since that’s how much it would have cost CDOT to build a similar system along both corridors, obtain power for the equipment and maintain the system.”

The system has the capacity to support all wireless service providers.*  Verizon Wireless is the first to provide cellular and data services over the fiber network.

*Cell phone coverage may not be available to all carriers at this time due to current lease agreements.