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Colorado's first ever beltway loop could break ground in 2020

Posted: 7:01 PM, Aug 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-31 01:25:09Z

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ARVADA, Colo. -- There's a new effort in a decades-long dispute to complete the 470 loop around metro Denver.

The ten-mile, four-lane toll road is being called the Jefferson Parkway and runs through two Arvada neighborhoods.

"(It) represents the last unbuilt portion of the Denver beltway system," said Bill Ray, executive director of the Jefferson Parkway Highway Authority Board.

The completion of the 470 Loop has been plagued with setbacks over high costs and a slew of legal challenges.

The current project is a compromise, it closes the loop but doesn't tie into the state's two other major interstates .

Jefferson Parkway will not connect with 470 or Northwest Parkway. Instead, it intersects with existing state Highway 93 in Golden and Highway 128 in Broomfield.

Kelly Flink lives in Arvada's Leyden Rock, one of the neighborhoods where the highway will run through. She said they knew when they bought their home that a highway would one day go in, but thinks it doesn't make sense if it doesn't connect to 470 and Northwest Parkway.

"It just seems needless at this point," she said.

Flink is also concerned she can't access the toll road from her neighborhood.

"So, it's running through my backyard and I pretty much wouldn't have a way to use it," said Flink.

Ray said the highway route was determined long before the homes went in.

"There's literally no room that's left in order to put an exit or entry point," he said.

Other views come from Jay Wright, a guy who knows a thing or two about commuting in the area.

"I drive 30, 40,000 miles a year," he said. Wright doesn't love the idea of having to pay a toll to travel on a highway, but thinks Arvada is in desperate need of options to get up north.

"It's Indiana or Wadsworth - you have to do one or the other," said Wright. "I would appreciate if they did it honestly, I don't like driving through all the stop lights."

The Jefferson Parkway is closer to reality than it ever has been before but it's still not a done deal.

The highway authority still needs to hammer out an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over concerns raised at nearby Rocky Metropolitan Airport.

The exact cost of the toll will be determined later once a private partner is chosen. Ray said they hope to break ground by 2020, but that timeline is still up in the air.