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Call in Wednesday to ask questions, learn more about CDOT plan to the I-25 'Gap' with toll lanes

February 20, 2018 Updated: February 20, 2018 at 11:39 pm
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Southbound traffic begins to build on Interstate 25 Thursday afternoon, Oct. 12, 2017, just before exit 172 near Larkspur, Colo. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

El Paso County residents can call in to a telephone town hall Wednesday night to ask about the widening of the Interstate 25 "Gap," the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

To hear an update on the project - which would widen the 18-mile stretch from Monument to Castle Rock from two to three lanes in each direction - call in toll-free at 1-877-229-8493 and use PIN 112034#.

The telephone town hall will last from 6 to 7 p.m., and shortly before it begins, interactive calls will go out to thousands of residents, a CDOT news release says.

State transportation officials propose adding two toll lanes, a pitch that has drawn the ire of some locals who say taxpayers already have ponied up for construction costs, and toll lanes would amount to double taxation.

Officials expect to hear back this spring about a $65 million federal grant for the widening. Under the current plan, the rest of the $350 million cost would be paid with $35 million in local tax dollars, including money from El Paso and Douglas counties, and $250 million in state allocations, mostly from a new law expected to generate revenue through the sale of state-owned buildings.

Construction could begin in November if all the funding is secured, CDOT spokeswoman Tamara Rollison said in January.

CDOT has said toll lanes are the best way to ensure that drivers have a reliable option when pressed for time. The agency's research has shown that so-called "Express Lanes" have improved traffic flow on other highways in the state, including U.S. 36 from Denver to Boulder and Interstate 70 eastbound from Empire Junction to Idaho Springs.

Before the proposal to add toll lanes is finalized, the Federal Highway Administration must sign off on the project's environmental assessment, which is underway. As part of the analysis, CDOT also is considering adding one general purpose lane in each direction instead of toll lanes. Approval is expected in late spring, Rollison said.

A second telephone town hall will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday for Douglas County residents.

Residents can learn more or comment on the project anytime at codot.gov/projects/i-25-south-monument-castle-rock-ea.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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