Christine from Denver writes, “I wanted to see if you could do a follow up story on the Pena Blvd on ramp project from Tower Road. Per your last article on this construction was to have started late 2016 early 2017....we're now moving toward late 2017 and still no on ramp.”
Let me first start with a link to the original article I wrote about this missing ramp I wrote two years ago. Back then the time line to start work on the missing ramp was late 2016/early 2017. As Commerce City realized that starting work during that time frame was not going to happen they updated the information to say work will start in either the spring or summer of 2017. Now that the updated time frame has come and gone when will work start?
The short answer is by the end of this year or in January, February of 2018. The long answer is several factors contributed to the schedule change. “Most notably the findings of the federal environmental review that required changing the location of the new on-ramp to protect nearby wetlands and a redesign of the existing westbound Peña off-ramp to align with the new one,” said Travis Huntington, Communications Specialist with Commerce City.
Looking at the satellite images of where the ramp would go you can clearly see two small drainage creeks. One flowing west from Tower Road to the main creek that flows south, parallel to Tower Rd.
There were other changes to the project scope and budget, including an agreement with Denver to widen Tower Road from E. 80th Avenue to just south of the Tower/Peña interchange that required additional time and coordination between Commerce City, City & County of Denver and Denver International Airport.
The revised project schedule calls for the construction contract to be awarded to a contractor before the end of this year. That would allow construction to begin by early 2018. The ramp should be completed and open to traffic by late summer or early fall 2018.
Even with the changes, the plan is basically the same, to construct a new ramp from Tower Road to allow traffic onto westbound Pena Boulevard. I’m sure you have seen the extensive work going on north of Pena Blvd as Commerce City is widening Tower Road to four lanes between E. 80th and E. 103rd avenues. That work is scheduled right now to be done by the end of 2017.
Separately, the City of Denver should begin the widening of Tower Road from the Commerce City border at E. 80th Avenue south to the eastbound Pena Boulevard ramps at the same time the new ramp will be constructed. And finish by the end of 2018.
Travis tells me, “The cost for the entire project (on-ramp, rebuilt off-ramp and additional Tower Road widening) is estimated between $10 and $13 million; construction costs for the two ramps account for $5 to $7 million of that total.”
Lets hope this schedule is one that they all stick to and finally get this ramp built and open.
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