Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The WestConnect Coalition conducted an 18-month study to evaluate and develop short-term and long-term transportation alternatives, and to identify proposed improvements along C-470, between Kipling and I-70, and along the US 6/CO 93 corridor between Golden and Boulder. The PEL study evaluated options to:

  • reduce congestion;
  • improve operational performance and safety; and
  • address future transportation needs.

The study area for the WestConnect PEL was defined as C-470 from Kipling to I-70/US 6 in south Jefferson County, US 6 from C-470 to CO 58/CO 93 in Golden, and CO 93 from Golden to Marshall Road (CO 170) in Boulder County. Major arterial intersections and interchanges along the corridor were also included.

This transportation study will be conducted using the PEL approach. PEL is a study approach used to identify transportation issues and environmental concerns, which can be applied to make planning decisions and for planning analysis. PEL studies link planning to environmental issues and result in useful information that may ultimately be used to prepare a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study and final design, and to help streamline the process.

The key objectives of the PEL study were to:

  • Conduct public outreach and coordination with local, state and federal resource agencies;
  • Identify existing and future issues and problem areas in the corridor from operational, mobility, maintenance and safety perspectives;
  • Identify natural resource and/or environmental agency concerns;
  • Consolidate and address jurisdiction priorities and plans;
  • Develop alternatives to address the short-term and long-term needs, and consider potential funding sources;
  • Prepare a prioritized list of proposed improvements;
  • Establish cost estimates for the WestConnect Coalition to use when seeking project funding; and
  • Develop next steps, an implementation plan and potential funding options.

Individual local jurisdictions and regional agencies along the corridor have previously completed planning and design efforts for some improvements. The PEL study will respect the existing plans of the coalition agencies within their respective jurisdictional boundaries.

However, the coalition was formed because these agencies desire to formulate a cohesive transportation plan along the regional corridor. New data will be collected for this study, and agencies and members of the public will have an opportunity to develop a corridor vision, along with improvement recommendations to achieve that vision for the entire corridor. For example, the City of Golden's Plan for US 6 and CO 93 through Golden will be incorporated into the PEL study analysis.

The previous Northwest Corridor Study process was a precursor to the ongoing Jefferson Parkway planning effort, which is separate from the PEL study.

Members of the WestConnect Coalition have different positions regarding the Jefferson Parkway. Given such differences, but a collective desire to ensure effective use of funding, WestConnect Coalition members agreed to not include the Jefferson Parkway in the PEL study.

In order to ensure a comprehensive study, however, the PEL study will still consider the potential traffic implications and impacts to CO 93 with and without the Jefferson Parkway. The PEL Study will not study or make recommendations regarding Jefferson Parkway design or funding.

CDOT's 1601 Interchange Approval Policy Directive is a separate process that will address the Jefferson Parkway. The Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority has initiated the 1601 application process for the Jefferson Parkway. CDOT is obligated to respond to this application and will require a detailed traffic analysis, as the Jefferson Parkway is planned to connect with the state system at CO 93, and at CO 72 and CO 128.

This study considered a wide range of options for study area roadways, intersections and interchanges along the WestConnect corridor, and pedestrian, bicycle, transit and operational improvements. Lower-cost improvements such as signal timing and coordination, turn lanes and signage were considered, as well as larger-scale improvements—such as roadway widening, interchanges and pedestrian/bicycle facilities. All reasonably feasible improvement suggestions within the study area were welcomed and considered during alternatives development.

Alternatives were evaluated for consistency with the corridor vision, using a tiered process.

The detailed alternatives-screening process determined impacts (potentially both adverse and beneficial) of various corridor improvements. Action alternatives were compared to a "no action" alternative. Traffic analysis considered local agency plans and refined land use projections into the year 2040. Public and agency comments were considered during every step in the study process.

This study developed recommendations to reduce congestion, improve operational performance and safety, and address future transportation needs along the study corridor. The study provides a plan for future short- and long-term improvements, which will be used by coalition agencies and CDOT to obtain funding to implement projects.

The PEL study was completed in approximately two years. This study made both short- and long-term improvement recommendations. A subsequent NEPA study will be required for ultimate improvements. The timeline for improvements is dependent on funding availability. It is likely that the improvements would be constructed in phases.

Improving operational performance and safety is a consideration in alternatives evaluation and is always a priority for any CDOT project. The PEL study identified existing safety issues and will recommend alternatives to improve highway safety.

This study considered a wide range of options for area roadways, intersections and interchanges along the WestConnect corridor, and pedestrian, bicycle, transit and operational improvements were included in those considerations.

Along CO 93, CDOT is considering improvements such as shoulder widening and the addition of a separate bike path between Golden and Boulder. In addition, CDOT is considering signage and wayfinding improvements along the C-470 trail, improved crossings for pedestrians and bikes at local streets and ramps, and possibly pedestrian and bike-grade separation improvements at the Kipling and Bowles interchanges.

Reducing congestion is an identified project need. Each alternative's potential to reduce congestion is a consideration in alternatives evaluation. The PEL study identified areas of heavy congestion and forecasted traffic volumes to the year 2040, to develop alternatives that have the potential to reduce congestion in the short- and long-term.

As part of the study, the potential for and magnitude of development is being considered, including looking at the parcels already slated for development. The future land use map shows the areas of preserved open space and potential development, based on zoning.

Yes—the traffic projections used in this study go through the year 2040 based on information and models from the Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG). The PEL study and recommended alternatives will take into account those traffic predictions.

In a previous study, which ended in 2008, WestConnect Coalition members were unable to reach agreement on a proposed solution for transportation needs along the corridor. The current PEL study is a renewed attempt to address congestion and other issues in the corridor through mutually agreed-upon solutions.

One option that the WestConnect Coalition and CDOT is considering is adding managed lanes (Express Lanes) along C-470 between Wadsworth and I-70. If this alternative moves forward, the details of how this lane would be managed (toll, high-occupancy vehicle, etc.) would be determined in a subsequent study.

An Environmental Scan Report was completed during this study, which includes an extensive visual analysis and assessment of the visual quality along the corridor. CDOT recognizes that this is a unique highway segment in Colorado and the report addresses the visual character and other considerations.

Yes—a Park-n-Ride is being considered at this intersection.

This study was led by CDOT and the WestConnect Corridor Coalition of agencies. Coalition agencies include CDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, Jefferson and Boulder counties, and the cities and towns of Arvada, Boulder, Broomfield, Golden, Lakewood, Superior and Westminster.

The Coalition agencies all recognized the need for a cohesive transportation plan along the WestConnect corridor and initiated the PEL process in coordination with CDOT to facilitate development of this plan.

As the project moves into the NEPA process and final design (a step anticipated following the PEL study), CDOT will begin a far more involved noise study and would install noise mitigation in locations where it is found to be required.