On Wednesday, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Transportation Innovation Office (CTIO) announced their plan to the Colorado Transportation Commission to fully fund the 7-mile North I-25 Express Lane “Segment 5” from State Highway 56 (South of Berthoud) to State Highway 66 (North of Longmont).
“Segment 5” was the last remaining two-lane stretch of North I-25 that was not fully funded. The $350 Million commitment comes from a combination of funding from CDOT’s 10 Year Plan and a federal TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan that will be repaid from toll revenues from the Express Lane. The Transportation Commission committed nearly $1 billion to build Segments 6 through 8, from Berthoud to Fort Collins, in 2018.
Until Wednesday’s decision, full funding of the final segment was undefined.
The commitment assures the North I-25 Express Lane extends from Fort Collins to Longmont. The 10-year plan, however, is silent on building the I-25 Managed Express Lane south of Longmont to E-470 (Segment 4) to provide a continuous managed lane from Fort Collins to Denver, despite the call for such improvement throughout the corridor, including this segment, to address continued growth in the region in 2011 Environmental Impact Study and Record of Decision.
The following are statements from the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance, a taskforce of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance and the North I-25 Coalition, the government leaders along the North I-25 corridor.
“Eight years ago, the Fix North I-25 Alliance and the North I-25 Coalition called for expansion of North I-25 from two lanes to three by 2025. This interstate is one of the most economically significant roadways in Colorado and nationally and Wednesday’s announcement finally answered our call and vision for Northern Colorado. We commend CDOT leadership including Executive Director Shoshana Lew, CTIO Director Nick Farber, CDOT Region 4 Director Heather Paddock and Transportation Commissioner Kathleen Bracke for their commitment to finish the job to invest in the backbone of Northern Colorado.”
—Sandra Hagen Solin, Fix North I-25 Business Alliance (NCLA)
“We thank Director Lew, the team at CDOT, and CTIO for finding a funding creative solution like leveraging TIFIA loans to address the very real safety concerns in Segment 5. We’re also encouraged that progress over the last few years to improve reliability, safety, and reduce congestion in other segments along North I-25 will not be a lost now that funding for Segment 5 is found as all segments of North I-25 must work for a fluid system.
“We celebrate this decision as a victory, but our work is not done – it is only the first step. The full EIS design for North I-25 calls for a 3+1 lane configuration. Nearly $75 million is being invested in multi-modal hubs at Highways 119 & 56 and at Centerra. For the commuter to see their taxpayer dollars at work, these hubs need the predictability of a managed lane all the way to Union Station. Our work continues.”
–Weld County Commissioner, Scott James, Chair of the North I-25 Coalition
“The real winners in this decision are Northern Colorado businesses who rely on a working, functional roadway for commerce and freight as well as the ability for their workers to commute with more ease. And, with Colorado’s population increasing 31 percent over the last two decades, the entire state stands to benefit. We thank CDOT and the CTIO for their leadership in moving this vote forward.”
–Ann Hutchison, President/CEO, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Northern Colorado is United
Northern Colorado is united in its efforts to assure full funding of North I-25. Together, the North I-25 Coalition and Fix North I-25 Business Alliance, represent the local governments and the business community of the Northern Colorado region.
The North I-25 Coalition, founded in September 2013 and chaired by Weld County Commissioner Scott James, encompasses local government Mayors, Commissioners and Councilors representing entities – counties, cities, and towns – along the I-25 corridor.
The region’s business community founded the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance in early 2014. The Alliance, chaired by Ann Hutchison (Pres/CEO, Fort Collins Chamber), is a project of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, the joint advocacy arm of the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley Chambers of Commerce with Upstate Colorado and One NoCo Economic Development.