Work is expected to begin in early 2013 to widen Interstate 25 from Woodmen Road to Monument, making the freeway six lanes from the southern side of Colorado Springs to the northern boundary of El Paso County.
“I-25 carries 25 percent of our regional traffic in a day,” said Craig Casper, transportation director for Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. ”That includes nearly all of our freight. It’s our most congested road in severity, duration and hours of travel lost. It’s the linchpin of our travel system.”
Casper said about 110,000 drivers log about 6 million miles a day on I-25 in the county.
The $66.9 million project is on schedule and fully funded, said Doug Lollar, Colorado Department of Transportation’s north program engineer.
Department of Transportation funding will account for $56.7 million of the project. The remaining $10.2 million is from federal funds that are to be used for PPACG projects.
Two lanes of traffic will remain open in each direction during peak traffic times, Lollar said, though night work could reduce the freeway to one lane each way. Traffic may be shifted from one side of the median to the other while work is in progress.
“The goal will be to keep traffic moving and minimize inconvenience to drivers,” Lollar said. “Ramps may be closed on an intermittent basis, but we wouldn’t allow any extended closure of any ramps.”
A construction contract is expected to be awarded by mid-December. The bidding process has been narrowed to three Colorado companies, which will submit proposals by Nov. 16.
“By January or February, we should start seeing some activity or signage along the freeway and work should start before March,” Lollar said. “This is a large project, roughly half the size of COSMIX that widened I-25 through Colorado Springs.”
The project’s completion date is December 2014. CDOT project manager Dan Hunt said it could be finished sooner, and that’s a factor in who wins the contract.
“We’re asking for completion dates from the contractors,” Hunt said. “Some said they could maybe finish three or four months earlier, but that’s before they’ve done scheduling and everything else. But we feel they can finish early.”
The project was originally going to be completed in two phases, the first portion being from Woodmen to Interquest Parkway, the second from Interquest to Monument.
“It just made sense to do it all at one time,” Lollar said.