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Governor Polis Announces New Initiative to Support Access to Military Installations, as Part of CDOT's Planning Process

July 17, 2019 - Southeastern Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS - Gov. Jared Polis and CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew met today with members of the military, veterans, and other state, local, and federal officials, at a meeting hosted by the Pikes Peak Area Councils of Governments. The meeting, which was part of CDOT's planning process, called Your Transportation Plan, focused on military access and mobility needs, including access to military installations in the Colorado Springs area and statewide.

As part of this session – and following on months of discussions between CDOT and stakeholders – Gov. Polis announced a new initiative to improve safe and efficient access along several key highways and roads that are vital to providing strategic connectivity between the Pikes Peak Region’s military bases and facilities. Earlier this week, CDOT applied for a federal grant to help fund projects totaling $128.5 million. The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development or BUILD Grant would provide $25 million of funding for a four-part initiative, with CDOT and state and local partners committing to fund the balance. These components include:

  • State Highway 94: Safety improvements along Highway 94 and construction of a westbound passing lane, approximately one-mile long, beginning about five miles east of the U.S. 24 junction ($7.5 million).
  • South Academy Boulevard:Widening approximately one mile of South Academy Blvd - between Interstate 25 and Bradley Road – from two to three lanes to alleviate recurring congestion ($23 million).
  • I-25:Safety and infrastructure improvements between the South Academy Boulevard and Santa Fe Avenue (U.S. 85 – Fountain) interchanges (7½ miles), including median barrier installation, inside and outside shoulder widening to 12 feet, replacement of two bridges crossing South Academy, additional rehabilitation on six additional bridges, and installing intelligent transportation system components ($84.2 million).
  • Charter Oak Ranch Road:Improvements to the Santa Fe Avenue intersection and complete reconstruction of Charter Oak Ranch Road between Santa Fe Avenue and Fort Carson’s Gate 19.  Reconstruction includes safety and roadway improvements and new pedestrian facilities ($12.6 million).

These four components have been identified through a series of ongoing discussions between CDOT and stakeholders throughout the Pike's Peak Region, and responsive to areas identified as key concerns. The focus on this initiative and grant application is well timed, as Colorado continues as a finalist as the site for the Department of Defense’s new space command.  Colorado's military installations are known for their focus on technology and excellence in aerospace.

“The vitality of the Pikes Peak Region is key to the state’s continued success,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.  “With military personnel we host and support, along with 100,000 veterans living in El Paso County, it’s imperative that we hear their perspective and, more importantly, that we take real steps, such as applying for the BUILD Grant, to help ensure that our military installations can be safely and predictably accessed, even with the challenges of our growing population.”  

"Our ongoing dialog with the military community in the Colorado Springs area, and elsewhere, focuses on the importance of our state's military installations as home to world class assets that are vital to global commerce and safe transportation” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.  “Our national highway system, since its inception, was envisioned as a network intended to support national defense, and in that spirit, it is especially important that we continue to prioritize access to Colorado's military installations. I'd like to thank our local partners for helping convene these discussions and for partnering with CDOT throughout this process."

The total economic impact of the Defense Sector in Colorado is 7.9% or $36.6 billion.

“Partnering with CDOT and our regional military members and veteran service organizations is a long-standing role for PPACG,” said the Chair of PPACG, Norm Steen.  “We are pleased to bring them together today and host the conversation to work together to pursue federal funding addressing the transportation needs of our military.”

While today's session provided one important avenue to provide input, CDOT encourages its partners to continue weighing in as part of the new statewide planning effort, Your Transportation Plan.  This process builds on Colorado’s tradition of grassroots engagement to take a fresh look at our transportation investment priorities and asks people across the state what matters to their lives and what infrastructure can do to get them there.  Find out more at: www.YourTransportationPlan.com

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