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EDITORIAL: Let's get the I-25 project underway

By: The Gazette editorial board
October 13, 2017 Updated: October 13, 2017 at 10:41 am
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Traffic commuters driving on I-25 Southbound get stuck in a traffic accident on Thursday Oct.12, 2017 just past Larkspur. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

The Pikes Peak region and the Front Range got some good news Thursday. The widening of Interstate 25 from Monument to Castle Rock is becoming more than just a pipe dream.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has identified $250 million for adding an additional lane to the congested stretch that has been the subject of much debate and aggravation. The solution was found in a new state law that hopefully will generate around $1.8 billion for transportation in the next 20 years.

The project still needs additional funding from the affected counties. Two questions on the El Paso County Nov. 7 ballot could yield at least $16 million in local funds for the project. The Legislature has proved its inability to put real money toward roads, bridges and highways for multiple sessions in a row so voters have no better option than to assume the responsibility.

Douglas County and other communities who benefit also need to step up and help with this effort. It is as important for their residents as it is in our county.

Known as "The Gap," the narrow stretch of freeway has been a thorn in the side of the Colorado Department of Transportation for decades. Recently, The Gap has become a death trap for drivers, an economic burden for Denver, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs and a drag on our quality of life.

Without a reliable infrastructure, it is difficult to lure new industry to our area. We need to knock down this major roadblock to economic development.

And there's also the issue of safety. Almost daily there are accidents in The Gap, many resulting in loss of life.

If you are concerned with the environment, stop-and-go and slow traffic increases the length of time pollutants are emitted and increases the amount of pollution produced in a given time while idling or running at low speeds. Adding lanes to congested highways, which reduces congestion, should be a priority in the pursuit of protecting our air.

An additional lane should also make the commute to Denver and beyond more tolerable. Those who drive The Gap daily are reminded how bad a situation we have. Anyone who drives this stretch of highway at all knows how urgent the need for this project and how welcome CDOT's news really should be.

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