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CDOT kicks off U.S. 85 work with meetings

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By Ben Wiebesiek

FORT LUPTON — The Colorado Department of Transportation is gathering information for possible improvements to a 62-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 85 between Commerce City and Nunn.

CDOT held a kick-off meeting Jan. 16 at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center to introduce the project.

The broad impact of the highway through the region was evident in the spectrum meeting attendees: members of the public, elected officials, business owners and representatives for the railroad, which runs close to the highway for most of its length.

Chris Fasching, principal engineer with Felsburg Holt and Ullevig, introduced himself as the consultant project manager for the project.

CDOT officials introduced the study as a Planning and Environmental Linkage Study. 

Alex Pulley with Felsburg Holt and Ullevig, said a PEL is an interim step for a project that has been identified in a regional transportation plan, but before official federal funding has been allocated.

“We’re going to be focusing on safety, focusing on operations, and we’re going to be looking at what the immediate needs are going to be,” Fasching said. “There are three objectives we’re looking at. It’s identifying what that corridor vision is going to be, how that translates into improvements and enhancements, and help determine what the priorities are going to be.”

While there isn’t a timetable yet for when improvements could be made to the corridor, Fasching distributed a timeline for the next couple of years for the PEL study.

CDOT and Felsburg Holt and Ullevig will gather data through April, conducting interviews and a visioning workshop during the first months of 2014.

In June, CDOT will host a public meeting, and afterward, coordinating agencies will study alternatives, development and screening stages. These stages will take the project through the beginning of 2015, when another public meeting will be held to share results.

Fasching said the last goal was to make the project for the corridor competitive during funding request times.

“One of the key studies that really set the stage in a lot of ways was the corridor plan in 1992,” Fasching said. “And the key things that came out of that particular study was that it identified a whole host of improvements to intersections. But there was the notion that came out of that study that said, ‘U.S. 85 should probably be planned to be a pretty major facility. Maybe not a freeway, but probably a little more than an expressway.”

An executive committee will be formed of elected officials or senior-level staff appointed by the respective local officials from the affected jurisdictions and oversight agencies. 

Also a technical advisory committee will be formed to include the technical staff from the affected jurisdictions/support agencies. 

The Executive Committee will be briefed by the Technical Committee and the Project Team at milestones throughout the project. The objectives of the plan are described in detail in the Scope of Work.

 

Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email bwiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.