DENVER – More than 20,000 cars drive on Quebec Street every single day in Denver. To say it's at capacity would be an understatement.
"It's kind of breaking down in terms of how it's operating," explained Nancy Kuhn, a Denver Public Works spokeswoman.
"I try to avoid it, so I use a lot of back roads because Quebec has gotten so bad, " said frustrated driver and Stapleton resident Queeny Walker.
One of the worst traffic bottlenecks is at the intersection of Quebec and Colfax, where the road goes down to one lane in each direction.
"We've seen a lot of growth so on top of that you've got more people moving there," said Kuhn.
Denver Public Works said the city has secured $23 million to make improvements on Quebec Street from 13th to 26th Avenues, with half coming from federal funding. But changes are still several years out.
Kuhn said the city hopes to turn that stretch of Quebec into two lanes in each direction, with improved intersection operations, new sidewalks and improved bus stops. Cyclist traffic will be moved to Syracuse Street, which has fewer cars.
Right now, Denver is still in the early planning phases, and working through a comprehensive environmental study of the corridor, which is a required because federal money is being used to fund the project.
However, Kuhn said construction won't start until at least 2020.
"This is a very important roadway. There are a lot of communities nearby, and what the planning process does is give us the time to do it right," she said.
Denver Public Works said some of the concerns that have been identified on this section of Quebec are heavy congestion, excess traffic diverting to side streets, lack of sidewalks, and a high crash rate, with three crashes per week.
The city hopes to hold its first public meeting on the project later this summer in either August or September.
"Just put on your jams and just pretend it doesn't exist or try to," said Walker.