I-25: The New Pueblo Freeway - Ilex Street to City Center Drive

June 27, 2019 - Southeastern Colorado -  Official ribbon cutting signifies completion of first project

PUEBLO, CO -- On Thursday, June 27, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and contractor, Flatiron Construction, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at Runyon Field Sports Complex Parking Lot to celebrate the completion of the I-25 Ilex Street to City Center Drive project, the first phase of the New Pueblo Freeway.

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Karen Rowe, CDOT Region 2 Transportation Director (RTD) welcomed guests and recognized the numerous agencies, staff and community organizations which played significant roles in the success of the project. Representatives from the project agency partners included: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), City of Pueblo, and Pueblo County. 

“The state of Colorado is undergoing noticeable demographic changes and our roadways must grow alongside this,” said CDOT RTD Karen Rowe. “The new Pueblo Freeway is a great example of how we are making the necessary changes to adapt accordingly and make traveling our highway system a safe and enjoyable commute. With Ilex being the first phase in a multiphase project, we are proud to see these changes becoming a success,” said Rowe.

The funding for this first project of the New Pueblo Freeway was made possible from past and present efforts of CDOT leaders and local elected officials who cared to see that this project was the beginning of something great for the City of Pueblo and anyone who travels this highway. The approximately $100 million project (including landscaping) was fully funded by multiple federal, state, RAMP (Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships), CDOT Bridge Enterprise and local match funding from the City of Pueblo and Pueblo County.

"Over the last five years one-time tax dollars, the gas tax and other vehicle fees have allowed the Colorado Transportation Commission to maintain and improve roads and bridges in Colorado,” explained Bill Thiebaut,  District X Transportation Commissioner. “The investment in Pueblo has been $250 million -- creating nearly 2,500 jobs -- including this wonderful phase of the New Pueblo Freeway, the first major reconstruction of our 1950's Pueblo freeway in the last three decades. Kudos to the taxpaying public for allowing us to wisely invest their money."

In addition to CDOT Region 2 Transportation Director Karen Rowe, ribbon cutting celebration speakers included CDOT Executive Director Shoshona Lew, FHWA Colorado Division Administrator John Cater, City of Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar, Colorado Transportation Commissioner Bill Thiebaut and Flatiron Construction Senior Vice President Eric Taylor.

The I-25 Ilex Project is an example of how CDOT is providing transportation solutions to the State of Colorado. “The Ilex Project has significantly increased safety on the I-25 corridor through Pueblo from Ilex Street (now D Street) to City Center Drive. Motorists experience much safer driving conditions, decreased accidents and enjoy a greatly improved driving experience,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshona Lew.

The Ilex Project has made several safety improvements including:

  • Widening of shoulders to twelve feet so cars and emergency vehicles can pull off safely

  • Longer acceleration and deceleration lanes for improved merging on and off the Interstate, as well as the opportunity for proper slowing down and speeding up

  • Straightened alignment where there were previously tight curves to allow for consistent speeds through the corridor

  • Standardized lane widths

  • Improved lighting and signage for increased visibility

This project celebrates many positive changes such as a desire to improve the look and aesthetics of the interstate from the local community perspective. Eleven bridges were replaced, rehabilitated or widened. Continuous acceleration and deceleration lanes between the City Center Drive and D Street interchanges provide much safer and improved conditions when entering and exiting I-25. Aesthetics were chosen to compliment local land uses around the project.   

PROJECT INFORMATION: The I-25 Ilex Street to City Center Drive project is the first project of the New Pueblo Freeway: the reconstruction of I-25 between City Center Drive (1st Street) and Ilex Street through downtown Pueblo. Construction includes upgrading several bridges south of downtown. The project began in July 2015, and is scheduled to be complete by summer 2019. 

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The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.

  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.

  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.

  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.

  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.

  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.

  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.

  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.

  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.

  • Be patient!


To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.


CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.