Jefferson Parkway Could Speed Up After Council Vote

Golden Weighs Compromise, Ending Opposition

The Golden City Council is expected to decide Thursday night whether to keep opposing the Jefferson Parkway or start negotiating for road projects it hasn't completed on its own yet.

It's a decision that comes after two decades of opposition to a beltway connecting the 470s -- E and C.

And the mayor told 7NEWS he hasn't made up his mind yet.

"On the question tonight whether we should continue on a negotiation path or just say we're not interested in agreement, no," Mayor Jacob Smith said.

Smith is one of seven voting council members expected to be dwarfed by a large crowd for the 7 p.m. meeting.

He believes the city could, potentially, find a way to get the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority to agree to improvements such as widening highway 93 to two lanes in each direction and improving the intersections of highways 93, 6 and 58.

They're projects that Golden has pursued, unsuccessfully, for more than five years. Smith said that could cost the city an estimated $150 million to $200 million.

Smith added that the parkway appears to be close to moving ahead with or without Golden's approval, giving city leaders less time to try to get something out of parkway planners.

But there is plenty of opposition to compromise from residents who would rather take the matter to court.

"Which is what I'd like them to do. Because I think we can win the fight. We've won it many times. And I can show them how to do it," said Gwen Green, a former councilwoman and state representative. "Little Golden has been the mouse that roared."

She said traffic studies have shown a beltway doesn't relieve congestion and adds to poor air quality.

Still, she believes council will vote to compromise.

"I'm not about to give up on Golden. And if the City Council makes a decision that I would consider the Golden Giveaway, I will fight back right down the line. I'll react by getting out and working for a referendum to overturn it," Green said.

A spokesman for Boulder County told 7NEWS they, along with the city of Boulder, are close to signing an open space agreement, removing their opposition to the 10-mile, privately funded Jefferson Parkway toll road.

A spokesman for Broomfield told 7NEWS they are committed to trying to complete the beltway loop, connecting the Northwest Parkway to the Jefferson Parkway, if and when it's completed.

A spokesman for JPPHA told 7NEWS the ballpark figure the group is working with now to build the highway is $200 million.

But, spokesman Bill Ray added, they hope to take more specific proposals by the end of March to get a better idea on projected costs.

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