Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The project limits extend 41.6 miles (MP 0 to MP 42) along CO 52, from CO 119 north of Boulder in Boulder County to CO 79 east of Hudson in Weld County. CO 52 interchanges with I-25, US 85 and I-76 in Weld County. CO 52 is a major east – west connection corridor for the region which is experiencing an increase in residential and commercial development. The corridor provides critical east – west access from residential and rural areas to business centers, as well as commercial freight from industrial centers along the corridor.

Map of the corridor

The PEL study is the first step toward identifying and seeking support for immediate and longer-term solutions for this vital stretch of highway connecting critical east – west access from residential and rural areas to business centers, as well as commercial freight from industrial centers along the corridor.

Most importantly, the PEL is a tool for CDOT to study the corridor prior to identifying funding for construction. When funds are identified, this process will best position CDOT to accelerate the environmental analyses required before construction begins.

Read more information about CDOT’s Planning and Environmental Linkages Program online here.

CDOT and local agencies are committed to implementing improvements on CO 52; however, the nature, timing and funding of those projects is unknown. Therefore, the PEL is the best tool at this time to lay the groundwork for future improvements by: 

  • Identify, define and prioritize projects based on the corridor's greatest needs
  • Identify significant environmental constraints that may influence design options and/or delay project development with lengthy environmental reviews
  • Clarify project costs and identifying necessary financing and funding options to implement improvements
  • Provide a framework for CDOT to engage with local corridor communities, regional travelers, and other interested stakeholders to understand their concerns and ideas for immediate and longer-term improvements
  • Support an efficient transition to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes, final design and construction advertisement once funding is identified.

Conducting a thorough and inclusive analysis of the corridor deficiencies, safety and operational issues, potential environmental impacts, and costs and funding options through the PEL process will save time in the long run. The recommended solutions must alleviate transportation problems, reflect community needs and values, and have support. Obtaining support on the best path forward from the public, local agencies, and elected officials is a central PEL objective.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was originally enacted by Congress in 1970 and establishes a process by which federally funded projects must be evaluated for potential environmental effects prior to approval by the relevant federal agency for clearance to begin construction. Since CDOT uses federal funding to maintain and improve the interstate system throughout Colorado, most improvement projects on the Interstate must first undergo some level of NEPA review (Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Environmental Assessment (EA), or a Categorical Exclusion (CatEx)).

With limited transportation funding, the completion of timely NEPA studies that can be approved by FHWA is an increasingly difficult task. For this reason, FHWA developed the planning and environmental linkage (PEL) process, which outlines a process like the one required by NEPA; yet it does not require a project funding commitment. The PEL process is intended to streamline future NEPA studies, saving cost and time, and allowing for a more efficient consideration of immediate needs and improvements that may not require exhaustive environmental impact review and can be done sooner. 

A PEL uses transportation planning decisions and analysis, including purpose and need, identification of preliminary alternatives, and elimination of unreasonable alternatives, to inform NEPA. This helps reduce and eliminate duplication of work in the planning and NEPA processes.

CDOT is working in collaboration with Stakeholders to identify a range of short and long-term improvements to identify projects that will maintain regional connectivity, improve functional integrity, and address future transportation needs along the corridor.

This study is engaging local agencies and developing a vision for CO52 from CO 119 to CO 79. CDOT has formed a Technical Team to better understand the local objectives which includes the communities of Keenesburg, Hudson, Fort Lupton, Fredrick, Erie, Dacono, Boulder County and Weld County.

There are several ways to participate! We understand that any proposed solution to the region’s transportation needs must address issues and concerns from many stakeholders. Our process includes continuous outreach to engage community members throughout the study.

You can participate at the limited level of just getting information to a highly engaged level of being more formally involved. Some engagement opportunities include staying up to date by visiting our website; providing input on our interactive map; getting a question answered or submitting a comment through our project email, website comment form, or calling our hotline; interacting with project team members at virtual or in-person community meetings at key project milestones in Fall 2020 and Fall 2021; working with representatives from Boulder County, Dacono, Erie, Fort Lupton, Frederick, Hudson, Keenesburg, and Weld County who sit on the CO 52 Coalition; and many other activities as we move through the CO 52 PEL / ACP. Much thanks for your interest in the study, we look forward to working with you.

There are a couple of easy ways to ask a question or submit a comment:

  1. Provide input on our interactive map. Visit the Public Involvement page.
  2. Submit a question or comment through our project email [email protected]
  3. Submit a comment on the Engage with the Study page
  4. Calling our hotline at 720-336-0187
  5. Mail your comment to:
    SH 52 PEL / ACP
    c/o Jeffrey Range
    4696 Broadway #3
    Boulder, CO 80304

The project is currently evaluating existing conditions within the corridor. This includes a high-level review of environmental resources located within the Environmental Study Area which is 1000-foot buffer from the centerline of the road. This baseline information will be considered as alternatives are developed and evaluated in the PEL. As projects move from a PEL study into NEPA, environmental impacts are assessed and reduced, minimized, or mitigated as needed.

The project is currently evaluating existing conditions within the corridor, which includes a review of city and town comprehensive, land use, zoning, and other plans that would influence potential alternatives the corridor. The project team understands the importance of residents and users and are engaging local agencies help shape the decision-making process and outcomes along the corridor throughout the planning processes.

The project is currently evaluating existing conditions within the corridor, which includes a detailed analysis of traffic patterns and volumes throughout the corridor. The COVID pandemic has significantly altered traffic volumes along the corridor. As such, traffic data will be analyzed at a regional level using historic traffic data to understand exiting conditions. Traffic data will be collected once normal volumes and patterns resume. This traffic data will be used when developing alternatives later in the PEL/ACP process.

Yes, improving safety is both a goal and priority of this study. The study will evaluate historic crash data to identify intersections and highway segments that are in need of safety improvements. Alternatives will be developed to address safety deficiencies in support of our Whole System Whole Safety initiative.

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