Highlands Ranch residents feeling traffic pain as C-470 expansion project shifts into high gear

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — People in Douglas County are sounding off after several months of construction along C-470. 

With a year left before it's complete, Denver7 decided to take a 360 look at the massive expansion project.

Some residents in Highlands Ranch have had enough of the construction noise.

“We just hear traffic 24/7,”  said Highlands Ranch resident Mike Miller.

But the pain is far from over. The project will continue for another year, leaving residents like Miller and his family to deal with late-night construction noise and traffic literally in their backyard.

“Each night we see lights through the window and noise constantly,” he told Denver 7’s Tom Mustin.

The two-and-a-half-year, $276 million project will add two express lanes on westbound C-470 and one express lane in the eastbound lane from 1-25 to Wadsworth. The goal is to ease traffic congestion in booming Douglas County. 

For months, new construction has snarled traffic. The Colorado Department of Transportation said it has done everything by the book. Because of OSHA rules, much of the construction takes place at night. 

CDOT gets the fact that some residents are feeling the pain. 

“We just ask the public to be patient with us. There is some work that will be a little bit noisier that we have to do,” said CDOT spokeswoman Stacia Sellers.

September Oslund was part of a neighborhood coalition to block the project. CDOT won out, leaving September to build a serenity waterfall to block out the noise.

“I’m ready for it to be over. For the construction to be over and see what it’s going to turn out like. It seems like it’s been going on forever, said Oslund.

For context, more than 100,000 cars pass through the 12 mile stretch of C-470 each day, and traffic is expected to increase by 40 percent by 2035. 

CDOT says adding the express lanes will pay dividends in the future.

“It really is going to have an impact on traffic. We really hope it’s a positive experience for motorists, ‘ said Sellers.

Sellers points to the 1-70 mountain express lane and Highway 36 as examples of success stories in easing traffic congestion.

Not everyone is complaining. Some Highlands Ranch residents get it. Ceora Scharrer says she ’s willing to endure short-term pain for long-term gain.

“If they really promise it’ll be better, it’ll be fantastic. I look forward to that if that’s actually the truth, said Scharrer.

It's a long and noisy road that may soon be coming to an end.

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