Projects

Myths and Facts

Housing and Business Right-of-Way

Myth: “Construction is taking 1/3 of homes in the Globeville, Elyria and
Swansea neighborhoods.” 

Fact: There are approximately 3,540 dwelling units in the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods. Construction of the preferred alternative will result in 56 residential and 17 business acquisitions. However, in recognition of the impact of the project to the local housing stock, CDOT is committed to provide $2 million in funding to support affordable housing in the Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods through available programs.

Myth: “When CDOT acquires a residential property, the owner receives only the value of their property with no additional assistance to find a new home in Denver’s high priced market.”

Fact: CDOT is required to both provide fair market value for the cost of the property acquired and to make up the cost difference for a new, similar property. In many cases, CDOT must also find a larger property that better fits the size of the family being moved.

Myth: Families being relocated can’t stay in the local area”.

Fact: CDOT makes every effort to identify homes in the area selected by the resident, whether that means staying in Elyria or Swansea or moving to other communities.

Environmental Analysis

Myth: “The delay in receipt of the Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration is due to the lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club against EPA.”

Fact: CDOT recently made a small adjustment to the timing of the Record of Decision for Central 70, which is the culmination of a 13-year environmental study. The ROD will now be signed 3-4 months later than the September 2016 date that was initially anticipated. The primary reason for this delay is to provide additional time for air quality modeling and to respond to comments received on the FEIS. The environmental study process relies on a thorough analysis of air quality and traffic data. Based on comments received during the EIS process, certain aspects of the air quality analysis are being updated to provide a picture of air quality results out to 2040. 

This new schedule has no relation to the EPA lawsuit that is directed at national guidance issued by EPA which is used by state and local agencies across the U.S. CDOT’s responsibility is to demonstrate compliance with the national health-based ambient air quality standards. 

Highway Cover and Connectivity

Myth: “Other cities that have small covers over highways design them for passive use, not as playgrounds for children.”

Fact: Many major cities throughout the United States build parks over their highways – especially near downtown areas to recapture some open space for people of all ages to enjoy. Some of these cities include Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. See examples of parks over highways in other cities.

Myth: “Local residents and other businesses will be disconnected.”

Fact: The intent of this project is to connect two communities that have been separated for decades. Reconnecting the Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods by removing the viaduct was a key core value identified by residents. In addition to the new four-acre park from Columbine to Clayton streets, the newly lowered highway will improve access and connectivity for pedestrians and motorists throughout the project area, including:

  • North-South bridges over the interstate that include sidewalks, lighting and safety features for bikes and pedestrians.
  • A rebuilt and redesigned 46th Avenue with sidewalks, tree lawn and lighting built to city standards.
  • New sidewalks constructed along Quebec Ave where Quebec passes under I-70.

Reroute Concept

Myth:CDOT has never studied the concept of rerouting I-70 along I-270 and I-76.”

Fact: Over the 13-year study process, several alternatives for the project were developed based on input from the community at corridor-wide meetings, through involvement with affected agencies at scoping and committee meetings, and from previous studies and new concepts developed by the project team.

One of the alternatives initially considered would reroute I-70 along I-270 and I-76. The existing viaduct between Brighton Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard would be removed, leaving 46th Avenue in place. 46th Avenue and the remaining portions of I-70 from Colorado Boulevard to I-270 and 47th/48th Avenue from Brighton Boulevard to the existing I-70/I-76 interchange would be converted to a six-lane principal arterial. This alternative also would require the reconstruction of the I-76/I-270/I-25/U.S. Highway 36 (US 36) interchanges; modifications to the I-25/I-70 interchange; improvements to I-25 between the I-270/I-76 Reroute Alternative and the existing I-70; and major widening and reconstruction of I-270 and I-76 (currently only four lanes each) for approximately 13 miles to accommodate relocated traffic.

After the 2008 Draft EIS was published, based on requests and comments received from the public, the project team re-examined the I-270/I-76 Reroute Alternative as part of a comprehensive review of past decisions. The intent of this reexamination was to ensure that past decisions and assumptions were still valid given new information and community feedback. Further study of the reroute concept was conducted as part of the SDEIS and again for the FEIS.

The additional analysis confirms the earlier decision to remove the I-270/I-76 Reroute Alternative from consideration. Listed below are the primary reasons for not advancing this alternative as a result of the additional analysis.

  • Does not improve congestion and safety conditions
  • Negatively Affects Mobility
  • Eliminates Emergency Access and Route Redundancy, Reducing Safety
  • Financial Feasibility
  • Stakeholder Concerns
  • Impacts to Others

Myth:Rerouting I-70 out of Denver and replacing it with a boulevard would improve local connectivity and traffic conditions.”

Fact: Currently, there are 684 businesses within the quarter-mile buffer on each side of I-70 between I-25 and I-270, with approximately 11,408 employees who would lose highway access with rerouting I-70 and would be forced to use surface streets. It is unknown how many businesses are located west of I-25 since that is outside of the Central 70 Project area, but similar conditions may exist. Rerouting I-70 while leaving 46th Avenue at its current location encourages highway users needing to access these locations to use 46th Avenue to reach their destinations rather than staying on I-70. Rerouting I-70 would also force delivery trucks and other large vehicles to use 46th Avenue frequently to reach the industrial areas and businesses located near the existing I-70. The resulting high traffic volumes and the truck traffic on 46th Avenue could degrade the quality of the neighborhood and cause safety concerns for neighborhoods, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

Select the map to see a larger version

Project Drainage

Myth: The Central 70 drainage system is dependent on the City and County of Denver Platte to Park Hill drainage project.
Fact: The current CDOT drainage system requires no improvements to the City and County of Denver’s drainage system to capture and convey water associated with a 100-year storm event. Simply put, the CDOT system assumes no changes in the amount of water flowing toward I-70 today from city streets. At the same time, CDOT’s system is not intended to address existing street flooding within the City of Denver. With the exception of limited incidental protection of the neighborhoods immediately north of I-70, the Central 70 drainage system only addresses the interstate. Click here to view a fact sheet on the I-70 drainage system.

Due to multiple projects going on in the Central 70 Project area and the City in general, CDOT and the City entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that demonstrates an overall collaborative working relationship between CDOT and the City, while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. The IGA includes a variety of items, one of which is drainage. CDOT will continue to monitor the development of the City’s drainage project and, should the City’s project move forward, CDOT will re-evaluate the size of the drainage system need for Central 70.

 


 

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