DOUGLAS/EL PASO COUNTIES — Gov. Jared Polis, CDOT Director Lew, Mayor John Suthers, U.S. Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, state and local officials announced today that the I-25 South Gap project will open all lanes to motorists nearly one year ahead of schedule. The project will improve safety and travel reliability with new Express Lanes, wider shoulders, rebuilt bridges, new wildlife crossings, new pavement and improved technology along 18 miles of I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument. Construction crews will have all travel lanes in their final alignment in a matter of days, and precise timing of the opening of the new lanes will be announced as key construction details are finalized.
“We are proud to deliver the Gap highway project ahead of schedule and under budget. All lanes of traffic both ways through the 1-25 South Gap between Monument and Castle Rock will be open an entire year earlier than promised. We are reducing traffic, improving infrastructure and safety and this stretch of I-25 is key to powering our economic recovery forward as it connects people, businesses and communities. I thank all of our local, state and federal partners for their collaboration,” said Gov. Polis.
CDOT’s I-25 South Gap project broke ground in September 2018. CDOT and its contractor partner Kraemer North America originally anticipated opening the Express Lanes and completing major construction in November 2022. Despite unique weather patterns and a global pandemic, CDOT and Kraemer worked together to deliver improved mobility with the added lane becoming available a year early - and within budget.
“We were able to accelerate the timeline while staying on budget due to strong integration with the project team that allowed for greater innovation and creative sequencing of construction activities,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We thank our state, local, and federal partners for their collaboration at every turn. We are especially grateful to our law enforcement and first responder colleagues who helped us manage this complex workzone amidst live traffic and often difficult weather conditions.”
“For years, the 18-mile gap on I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock created hazards for drivers and long delays for motorists,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. “We will soon have a much improved interstate as motorists reap the benefits of greater safety and travel reliability. On behalf of the many partners that made this project a reality, I’m thrilled to see this day arrive.”
One of the most significant improvements is widened shoulders. Prior to construction, Colorado State Patrol Troopers Cody Donahue and Jaimie Jursevics lost their lives making routine traffic stops in the narrow shoulders along this 18-mile corridor.
“For us, the I-25 South Gap is more than a stretch of highway. It’s our office, and safety is of utmost importance,” said Colorado State Patrol Chief, Col. Matthew Packard. “We honor those who have served this corridor – including Cody and Jaimie – by finishing early. The wider shoulders will give us more room to safely respond to incidents and better serve our community.”
Leading up to opening day, motorists should follow posted speed limits and stay in the two general-purpose lanes along northbound and southbound I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument so crews can finish paving, installing signs, sweeping, and striping the new Express Lanes. Once all lanes are complete and open to the public, motorists will be able to use the Express Lanes without paying a toll until testing is complete in fall 2022. The two general-purpose lanes will always remain free for travel.
“It is our responsibility to make sure Colorado’s infrastructure keeps pace with our growth in tourism and population, especially along the Front Range,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “This 18-mile project will relieve congestion between Denver and Colorado Springs, make it safer for law enforcement and first responders, and hopefully lead to fewer accidents on this stretch of the highway. I’m grateful for the collective effort at the state, local, and federal level to get this done.”
“The I-25 Gap project increases safety and mobility between Denver and Colorado Springs. It took collaboration at every level to get this done one year ahead of schedule. Colorado is ready to keep improving our roads with funding from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill,” said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper.
Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper also discussed the new bipartisan federal infrastructure law.
Minor construction will continue through summer 2022. Work includes final paving and striping operations in the middle section of the project near Larkspur, installation of deer guard (like cattle guard) off mainline I-25, and landscaping. Toll testing and integration will be ongoing through 2022.
CDOT is improving 18 miles of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock by:
- Widening the highway from two to three lanes in each direction - the new lanes will operate as Express Lanes, scheduled to open with tolls waived in mid-December 2021
- Widening shoulders along the length of the 18 miles in both directions - DONE
- Rebuilding five bridges (Spruce Mountain Road, Upper Lake Gulch, Greenland and County Line Road bridges and bridge over Plum Creek) - DONE
- Overlaying all lanes with new pavement - base pavement done and the final layer will be installed beginning late spring of 2022
- Building four new wildlife crossings - DONE
- Improving and modernizing five interchanges along the corridor - DONE
- Installing 28 miles of deer fencing - complete in early 2022
- Adding a southbound I-25 truck climbing lane at Monument Hill and a chain up station - DONE
- Adding an additional lane on northbound I-25 over Monument Hill and eliminating the left lane merge at CO 105 - DONE
- Modernizing communications and power along the corridor to enable future advanced technology - complete in 2022
- Installing and testing toll infrastructure - complete in fall 2022
While significant construction is scheduled to be completed by mid-December 2021, the entire project, including toll testing, will be completed by November 2022. The cost of the project is $419 million.
ABOUT EXPRESS LANES
The new lane in each direction along the 18 miles of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock will operate as an Express Lane. Tolls will be waived on the Express Lane until summer or fall of 2022. When the Express Lanes open by mid-December, Motorists are urged to use the lanes safely, heed the speed limit, enter and exit the Express Lane through the dashed white line only. In addition, it is illegal to use an Express Lane as a passing lane and motorists can be fined if it is used for that purpose.
When toll collection begins later in 2022, motorists will have the choice of using the Express Lane for a faster, more reliable travel time in exchange for a toll. Express Lanes will be free to vehicles with three or more people and motorcycles. All travelers will have the choice of taking the general-purpose lanes for free.
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