The Colorado Department of Transportation presented an ambitious, expensive plan to the El Paso County Commissioners Thursday to convert Powers Boulevard into an eight-lane, limited-access freeway.
Estimated to cost $730 million, the plan would be paid for by a combination of local, state, and federal dollars and cover the middle stretch of Powers, from Milton Proby Parkway north to Woodmen Road.
The commissioners took no action yesterday but are expected to issue a statement of support for the project at their next meeting.
The environmental assessment must be completed and approved before the project can be eligible for any federal money.
Traffic levels on Powers are driving the freeway proposal.
Traffic volume is expected to increase 88 percent along the corridor during the next 25 years.
The assessment says at least six lanes and as many as eight will be needed to carry the load.
The plan also calls for 11 grade-separated interchanges to be constructed along the route. Three miles of sound walls also would be erected.
If Powers is not converted into a freeway, cut-through traffic along neighboring residential streets will increase, and travel time will double from 24 to 43 minutes, the assessment says.
The proposed improvements are predicted to reduce travel time to 17 minutes.
The assessment notes that funding ability will determine how Powers is constructed, whether by one interchange at a time, by several, or by a single large project.
Where the funding might come from or when it might be available, isn’t certain.
From the environmental assessment:
Click here to read the environmental assessment prepared by the Federal Highway Administration and CDOT.