CDOT: Turn Powers into 8-lane freeway

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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:

  • The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments predicts that by 2035 El Paso county’s population will be about 936,000, an increase of about 370,000 residents.
  • The population along Powers is projected to grow to 263,000 by 2035, a 53-percent increase from the 2005 baseline.
  • Powers is the area’s second most travelled roadway after Interstate 25.

Click here to read the environmental assessment prepared by the Federal Highway Administration and CDOT.

6 Responses to CDOT: Turn Powers into 8-lane freeway

  1. Oh, I really hope this goes through! Powers is an improvement over Academy, but it is still a mess during rush hour. The job they did by 1-25 and Nevada was amazing (and it didn’t take 12 years). Go with those guys.

    Bob Lawb Law
    July 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

  2. How will this affect the new reservour plans out east of highway 24? I drive 24 everyday and have notice a huge jump in traffic on 24 itself. Whats the consensus of the 24 coridor from peterson afb to Peyton in the next 25 years? That seems to be a more logical question to ask our county commissioners.

    July 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm

  3. this is a good idea, but only if the improvements really result in a “limited access” roadway. There are many intersections on Powers that will need to be closed off for this to work (Grinnell Street, Omaha Blvd, Waynoka Road, Promenade Drive are a few of them). Also like the idea of the sound walls. Hope this is just the first phase in widening all of Powers.

    July 3, 2010 at 3:33 am

  4. Seems to make more sense to improve Marksheffel in order to relive Powers traffic. I travel Marksheffel north in the afternoons instead of crawling along Powers. Add 2 more lanes from US 24 to Woodman and connect Dublin to Marksheffel. That could be done at much lower cost and avoid making Powers a decade-long construction mess.

    July 3, 2010 at 6:16 am

  5. Brian:

    Would be interesting to see the response to your question from the commissioner for that district, Mrs. Lathen.

    Rick Wehner
    July 3, 2010 at 6:39 am

  6. I’m with expand and build out Mark Shefflel and 24. The majority of the traffic problems on Powers are directly related to commuting, not the local traffic patronizing the businesses along this corridor.

    Leave Powers as it is. The construction to ‘improve’ Powers will make Powers miserable for 10 years while this project is under construction, done thus driving the majority of businesses along Powers into bankruptcy.

    If the elected people had paid attention to public opinion 20 years ago when Powers was being discussed, we would have the space and area and some of the Powers “freeway” already. Since they did not listen to us, maybe we’ll get luck and they will this time and get it correct. OF course ,CDOT had major influence on the I25 widening project and NO HOV lanes were installed. Wouldn’t it be real nice for ‘pass through’ traffic to get on an HOV or restricted access on the north end and travel through town to Security BEFORE exiting?

    Sorry, just dreaming tonight….

    Ken G.
    July 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm