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CDOT expedites improvements on I-25 south between Castle Rock and Monument Hill

17-mile gap where highway goes down to two lanes
Posted at 5:48 PM, Jan 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-07 13:01:31-05

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced plans to accelerate improvements along Interstate 25 between Castle Rock and Monument Hill Friday.

The section of highway includes a 17-mile gap where the interstate narrows and goes down to two lanes in each direction.

"Between the two largest cities in one of the fastest growing states, we have a section of highway that's still in its 1950 configuration," said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT's executive director.

"There so much more coming into Castle Rock that I just believe there should be a little bit easier way to get through," said Chris Gill who is a manager at the B&B Café in Castle Rock.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jaimie Jursevics and Trooper Cody Donahue also both lost their lives near this stretch of highway.

"It creates back-ups; it then creates secondary crashes. It should not be in a two lane configuration," said Bhatt.

Safety concerns are another reason CDOT said it is expediting plans to widen the highway to three lanes in each direction.

"It needs to be done, it should have been done by now," said Castle Rock resident Shane Bignell who knows what it's like to be stuck in traffic on I-25 south. "I've spent an hour going five miles," he said.

But fast tracking the project is not that simple. It will also require lawmakers to come up with new funding for the project by the end of the year.

CDOT said the project will cost more than $300 million to build.

"Whether that's a gas tax or a sales tax or something else we'd have to go to a vote of the people," said Bhatt.

Bhatt said it could require a $0.05 or $0.10 cent increase in the gas tax or a $0.01 sales tax hike, which is similar to what other states have passed.

CDOT also told Denver7 that for the first time in several years, polling shows voters are willing to increase taxes to ease traffic.

"I think it's because there are finally so many people here on these roads and traffic is so bad," said Bhatt.

CDOT said a public, private partnership is also not off the table, with the possibility of an express lane in each direction.

If they secure the funding, construction would start in the summer of 2019.

"A little tax to expand the highway situation to ease traffic would be great," said Gill.

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