The Central I-70 project is a 1.2 billion dollar highway expansion that began in July of 2018. The project is projected to last four years. The I-70 corridor is the main artery to Denver’s economic district which is comprised of over 2200 businesses and is the gateway to Denver’s International Airport, Colorado’s single largest economic engine (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2019).
The expansion project’s focus is on the reconstruction of the 10 mile stretch of the Interstate 70 (I-70) between I-25, from Brighton Boulevard to Chambers Road. As a result, removing the 55 year old viaduct and adding a tolled express lane in each direction. The most anticipated renovation will be the widening of the highway between Quebec and Chambers as well as lowering the interstate and placing a four acre park above the highway (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2019).
The Central I-70 project is set to increase infrastructure, mobility of local, regional and national users and the transportation capacity of both individuals and goods. The I-70 project will also increase the connectivity between residential and business neighborhoods as well as other interstate access points making it easy to get in and out of town (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2019).
With that, the project is set to boost the economy through the creation of an estimated 4000 – 5000 jobs over the course of the four years (Contreras, 2018). With increased connectivity and improved infrastructure, traffic congestion is set to be reduced, thus, increasing the productivity of the business surrounding the highway. It is also anticipated that the I-70 project will sprout up new businesses and ultimately increase the value of industrial and commercial real estate in Denver.
A project of this capacity does not come without repercussions or issues. The City of Denver has had to offer compensation to individuals affected by the Central I-70 expansion project.
In addition, the Colorado Department of Transportation has since faced some backlash and has even been confronted with a number of lawsuits. Residents and neighborhood activists have continuously expressed their concerns of the compounding environmental impact of such an enormous project (Murray, 2019).
Furthermore, they have expressed their disapproval over the dust and noise brought on by truck traffic, detours, overnight demolitions and construction. Keiwet Meridiam and Partners, the contractor in charge has had to get permission from the court to increase the noise limits and acquire a number of noise variance permits.
In the long run, the I-70 renovation will be sure to increase efficiency throughout Denver, help businesses, and increase the value of real estate as a whole. We are looking forward to the changes that the I-70 renovation will bring.