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Important milestone made toward incorporating multimodal connections into planning for the I-70/Harvest Road Interchange

November 20, 2020 - Denver Metro Area - State and regional collaboration leads to including multimodal features to help manage roadway demand with new development near the Denver International Airport

DENVER – State and regional governments working together developed a new and innovative approach to build transportation demand management features into plans for an interchange at Interstate 70 and Harvest Road  near the Denver International Airport.  The Colorado Transportation Commission approved a resolution that allows project development to move forward.

“This is a tremendous and collaborative effort between the Colorado Department of Transportation and our regional partners in Denver, Aurora and Adams County, resulting in an innovative model for linking new housing to transit and considering a range of approaches to help mitigate demands on I-70.  This collaboration takes innovative strides in how we consider land use in transportation planning, and we appreciate the leadership of the Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority (ARTA), Aurora and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) in reaching this agreement,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. 

The project will be funded by ARTA, representing the City of Aurora, Adams County and the Aerotropolis Area Coordinating Metro District.  The authority provides a source of funding for critical regional transportation improvements south of the airport and north of I-70.  A significant element of the local and regional transportation network is a new interchange on I-70 east of Gun Club Road along the proposed Harvest Road alignment.   This project will move people and commerce to the Denver International Airport and the adjacent Colorado Aerotropolis - a residential, commercial and industrial community expected to create 170,000 new jobs. 

ARTA needed the Transportation Commission’s approval of a System Level Study in order to move forward with the project’s development, including financing.  The cost of the project is $30 million. Funding will not come from CDOT, with the exception of some assistance with multi-modal operations.  

Proposed project highlights and multi-modal features

The proposed project will build a new interchange at I-70 and Harvest Road, carrying Harvest Road over the interstate and using roundabouts for better traffic flow.  The project also includes a detailed multi-modal plan with the following features:

  • Three miles of a pedestrian/bike trail

  • Ten additional miles of trails north of I-70 and south of the Denver International Airport

  • Proposed bridge span to accommodate managed lanes, including express/HOV/transit lanes, on I-70

  • Optimized transit operations and delivery to the area

  • CDOT is committed to contributing up to $2 million for creating a shuttle service to RTD’s A-Line and ARTA is committed to matching CDOT’s contribution to enhance multi-modal options.

“The area’s transportation corridor needs have been studied since the opening of the airport more than 20 years ago, needs which are in direct support of CDOT’s 2016 Colorado Aerotropolis Visioning Study. The progress made on making this a multi-modal interchange in the growing Aerotropolis area marks an exciting time of collaboration with local governments and CDOT,” said ARTA Chairman Matt Hopper. “We are working toward the common good of the Aerotropolis region’s transportation system, the state’s economy and our quality of life.”

“This resolution represents a significant leap forward in delivering an interchange that will serve a variety of transportation modes in an emerging area and offer mobility choice in driving, walking, biking and taking transit,” Aurora Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Johnston said. “This new interchange is key to supporting a growing economy in this part of the metro area while reducing congestion and improving air quality.”

“It takes solid local and regional partnerships to achieve the best outcomes for transportation,” said Doug Rex, Executive Director, Denver Regional Council of Governments.  “This project is much more than an interchange.  It will set a new bar for how all modes of transportation should be considered and planned in lockstep with the community and it’s future development.”

About the Colorado Transportation Commission 

The state’s transportation system is managed by CDOT under the direction of the Colorado Transportation Commission.  The commission is comprised of 11 commissioners who represent specific districts. More information is available here.

About the Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority

The authority encompasses roughly 3,000 acres south of the Denver International Airport.  The Board of Directors consists of representatives from Adams County, the City of Aurora and the Aerotropolis Area Coordinating Metropolitan District.  The authority will oversee the budget and phasing plans for critical regional transportation infrastructure and finance regional transportation improvements needed to improve access across Aurora and Adams County, including additional connections from I-70 to the airport, new interchanges on E-470, as well as extensions of several critical arteries throughout the district.

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