Denver City Council member asks CDOT for extension to I-70 expansion comment period

DENVER - A Denver City Council member is asking the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for an extension to the public comment period on the final Environmental Impact Statement for a planned expansion to I-70.

At-large council member Deborah Ortega sent a letter to CDOT Friday asking for the extension on the project, which has been 13 years in the planning phase.

The project would expand I-70 by one lane in each direction for the 12 miles between I-25 and Tower Road. The EIS analyzed the safety, traffic congestion and ease of entering and leaving the highway. 

However, Ortega said the public comment period after the study was published is too short.

"It's extensive. Some of it is very technical," Ortega said. "We think it's vitally important that the residents have the time to look at it."

Ortega said she has seven days to look at the study, but due to it's depth, she thinks it's too difficult to fully analyze without a full 30 days.

"What's another 30 days to ensure these environmental justice communities have an opportunity to weigh in and look at what this impact is going to be and how it is being mitigated," Ortega said.

CDOT spokesperson Rebecca White said the organization received the letter late Friday, but haven't had time to consider what path they should take.

However, she also said there has been ample opportunity for the public to voice their concerns about the project.

"This has been [a] 13 year process," White said. "We've probably upwards of 200 meetings during that period. We've been working very closely with this community." 

According to White, the expansion is scheduled to begin in 2017. 

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