The December 2014 issue of the Stapleton Front Porch included a letter from the League of Women Voters about the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) 11-year planning process for the I-70 East project. I would like to clarify a number of points.
Since the outset, transparency has been a core value for our project. We have conducted an open, comprehensive public process that has involved hundreds of local residents in an outreach effort that has spanned more than a decade.
CDOT’s current proposal is to remove the aging I-70 East viaduct, lower this section of interstate, and construct a nearly 4-acre cover over the highway. Before reaching this point we evaluated more than 90 different alternatives, including re-routing I-70 north of Denver on I-76 and I-270. This process determined that it is not a viable option to move the interstate. Cost is one of the many concerns, along with traffic increases in neighborhoods adjacent to the highway, as well as its impact on low-income and minority communities.
A full discussion of why this proposal was eliminated from further consideration appears in the Supplement Draft Environmental Impact Statement, on the project website, www.i-70east.com.
Many key decisions and milestones remain before the I-70 East project can proceed to construction. A final environmental study must be prepared. And further discussions are needed on how to pay for this project—among the largest in CDOT history—and whether or not private investment should play a role.
Like the League of Women Voters, CDOT believes that a frank, open discussion on costs and finances is critical. Recent public meetings, which are being held before any action is taken, are meant to involve the public in these funding decisions, just as we seek input on highway design options. We invite all stakeholders to join us in these discussions.
—Amy Ford, Director of Communications, Colorado Department of Transportation