Robin Barnhart has been through the inconveniences, and ultimate rewards, of major construction in his backyard before.
First witnessing a massive project in Salt Lake City and more recently with the T-REX endeavor in Denver, the new Monument resident knows the road ahead is long and fraught with day-to-day struggles but can’t help but look ahead to the completion of the I-25 South Gap Project.
“I’ve lived through a few of them, and it’s always nice when they’re over,” said Barnhart, who moved south from Denver one year ago. “I’m looking forward to it being done with three lanes instead of only two.”
The Colorado Department of Transportation held an open house Thursday at the Woodmoor Improvement Association Barn so residents could talk one-on-one with project experts about how upcoming construction will affect them.
“I’m glad they (CDOT) put this on,” Barnhart said. “I think it’s important for the residents to have a voice and to be able to keep up with what’s going on.”
Since construction began in September 2018 on the 18-mile, $350 million project, roadwork has focused on the 5-mile northern section between Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock southward to Sky View Lane/Tomah Road that will create new lanes in the median.
But look out northern El Paso County, because not long from now, work will begin on the 7-mile section that spans Monument to Greenland Road. Highlights of this portion of the Gap include new lanes, three wildlife crossings and a bridge culvert at Greenland Road.
“People around here can expect two lanes of traffic at all times during the day with only closures at night,” CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said. “We’re already seeing barriers set on this segment here between Highway 105 in Monument to the Greenland interchange. When all three sections are underway at the same time, it’ll be the longest construction zone in the state.”
To build a new wildlife crossing, Monument Hill Road at Misty Acres Boulevard will be closed for at least four months. Access to Colorado Heights Camping Resort and Palmer Ridge High School will remain open with detours in place.
In addition, overnight lane closures and extended closures of the Greenland Road and County Line Road ramps and Monument Hill Road will be required for safety-critical work, according to a CDOT fact sheet.
Despite its three-year timeline, some are just giddy at the thought of a three-lane road connecting Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. After all, the project was years down the road until it recently received a $65 million grant from Federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America. Additional funding was provided by Douglas County ($10 million), El Paso County ($15 million), Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority ($10 million) and CDOT ($250 million).
“We were ready to go with CDOT, but getting that grant was nothing short of a miracle for us,” said Holly Williams, the El Paso County Commissioner for District 1. “Everyone pitched in, and it’s exciting to see this moving forward. It’ll be over before we know it.”