News

Public Hearings for I-70 East Supplemental Draft EIS Offer to Comment

September 12, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Public Input Sought During Hearings in Denver, Commerce City, Aurora

DENVER (Friday, Sept. 12, 2014) – Upcoming hearings in Denver, Commerce City and Aurora will give the public the opportunity to comment on the latest draft of an environmental study analyzing transportation alternatives to improve safety, access and mobility while reducing congestion in one of the state’s most heavily traveled corridors, Interstate 70 through northeast Denver and Aurora, between Interstate 25 and Tower Road.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) released the document Aug. 29, kicking off a public comment period.

“We are approaching the time when decisions will be made regarding this corridor, the state’s only east-west interstate that ties together DIA, downtown Denver, the mountain resorts and communities on the Western Slope and Eastern Plains,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt.  “The public hearings, an important part of our transparent process, allow the public to comment, while also hearing what others have to say.”

All hearings will be conducted from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a formal presentation and public comment period. A Spanish-language presentation and comment period will start at 6 p.m., to be followed by a presentation and comment session in English.  Dates and locations are:

  • Aurora – Tuesday, Sept. 23, Sable Elementary School, 22601 Sable Blvd.
  • Commerce City – Wednesday, Sept. 24, Kearney Middle School, 6160 Kearney St.
  • Denver – Thursday, Sept. 25, Bruce Randolph Middle School, 3955 Steele St.

The three-volume report, officially called the I-70 East Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), analyzes three alternatives and their impacts on environmental and social resources.

The SDEIS also preliminarily identifies a preferred alternative that would remove the deteriorating, 50-year-old viaduct between Brighton Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard, lower the highway below grade, add two tolled express lanes in each direction between I-25 and Tower Road, and build an almost four-acre landscaped cover over the interstate by Swansea Elementary School.

The preferred alternative will provide a place for the community to gather; re-unify the Swansea and Elyria neighborhoods; aesthetically improve the communities and improve travel times by 12 minutes, among other benefits. Community leaders helped develop the preferred alternative that is preliminarily identified in the SDEIS during a decade-long public process.

“CDOT has spent a decade of working with residents, businesses and other stakeholders on this important, 100-year investment and the preferred alternative reflects the values and concerns we have heard,” Hunt said.

The SDEIS includes discussions on issues and concerns CDOT has heard from the community, including environmental and air quality concerns, as well as a proposal to re-route I-70 north onto Interstate 270 and Interstate 76.

“The re-route alternative has been studied and eliminated multiple times,” said Kirk Webb, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) manager for CDOT Region 1. “It would add two miles to traffic, increasing travel times for commuters. It will affect multiple residential communities, increase local street traffic and affect the businesses located along the I-70 East corridor, among others.”

“Our preferred alternative will impact only 52 homes and 20 businesses - not 129 residences, as Unite North Metro group is claiming” Webb added.

Those interested in the project have several options for submitting their comments other than the public hearings.  They can send comments via mail to I-70 East EIS Team, Colorado Department of Transportation, 2000 S. Holly Street, Denver, CO 80222; email at [email protected]; telephone at 303-757-9413; online at www.i-70east.com, so that they can become part of the official record of the project.

After considering input from the public review and comment period, CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will issue a Final EIS, which will respond to comments and questions, and will formally identify the preferred alternative.  At the conclusion of the process, the FHWA is expected to issue a Record of Decision (ROD), which selects the preferred alternative, allowing final design and construction to begin. The Colorado Transportation Commission has asked the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) to explore financial options for the I-70 East project.

I-70 East Fact Sheet

The purpose of the project is to implement a transportation solution that improves safety, access, and mobility and addresses congestion on I-70 in the project area.

I-70 East Viaduct

  • Constructed in 1964, is one of the largest and most notable bridges in deteriorating condition across the state. The viaduct requires replacement within the next 10 to 15 years.

Current traffic volume

  • Average daily traffic on I-70 East is between 47,000 and 205,000 vehicles per day (depending on the location in the corridor)

Increased transportation demand

  • Forecasted I-70 East traffic volumes for the year 2035 range from 117,000 to 285,000 vehicles per day between I-25 and Peña Boulevard.
  • Population in the I-70 East project area is expected to increase 41 percent and employment is expected to increase 59 percent from 2010 to 2035.
  • Most of the developable land in the central and eastern parts of the project area will be built out by 2035.
  • Growth in I-70 East corridor:
    • Downtown Denver will add more than 21,000 new housing units and 47,000 new jobs by 2020.
    • Stapleton redevelopment began in 2001, and at completion will have more than 30,000 residents and 35,000 new jobs.
    • Gateway Park in Aurora, north of I-70 and west of Chambers Road, is projected to have from 34,000 to 65,000 new residents and more than 54 million square feet of commercial space at build-out.
    • Denver International Airport is expected to add an additional 13,500 jobs by 2030 as it continues to grow and expand.

Commercial Corridor Facts

  • Currently, there are nearly 700 businesses within the quarter-mile buffer on each side of I-70 between I-25 and I-270 with approximately 11,400 employees.
  • Truck traffic ranges between 5 percent to 19 percent of the total I-70 East traffic.
  • Truck access to the established businesses in the neighborhoods and future activity centers is important for future economic development.

 

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