Is E-470 building a bike path to nowhere? Denver7 digs for answers

DENVER -- The multi-million dollar expansion of the E-470 highway is bringing with it a brand new bike path on nearby land, but Denver7 discovered that it's being built with a missing link.

The E-470 expansion project is adding a lane for the tollway from Quincy Avenue to Parker Road. The bike path runs along that expansion, only it goes from Quincy to south of Ireland Way. That means that the project, as it is currently planned, leaves about a 2.5-mile gap of nothing.

"It's just like making a road that goes nowhere. Why would you do any of it if you're not going to finish it?" local bicyclist Bruce Berman asked. 

“What I would term it is a bike system in transition of being completed," Dennis Trapp of the Town of Parker said. 

The final connecting piece of the trail is now in the hands of the local governments, including the Town of Parker. Officials say it wasn't safe to connect a bike path at-grade to the busy Parker Road, so they took over finding a new solution. 

"Once we had the safety studies done, it was determined that we should just move it a little bit north," Arapahoe County Commissioner Jeff Baker said.

"I would say right now we're right at the very beginning," Trapp added.

The beginning of the process of engineering, studies, design, fundraising, and then the building.

The reason this piece is so important: it would connect the E-470 trail to the Cherry Creek trail, which runs north to downtown Denver and south through Douglas County. 

So it comes down to timing. The E-470 expansion project and that part of the bike lane is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The locally controlled piece of connecting trail could take half a decade.

"Based on the intergovernmental agreement we signed with the E-470 Authority about five years to come up with funding, design, and construct the project," Trapp said. 

E-470 will be contributing to the construction of the final piece. They plan on paying out $438,000 to that project. However it is too soon to say what that total cost or budget would be, since actual plans are still months to years out.

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