A project to replace eight deteriorating bridges on I-270 between York Street and Vasquez Boulevard is expected to cost $175 million and be completed in 2026.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says the eight bridges, built more than 50 years ago, have required more than 300 emergency repairs costing more than $1 million since 2006 and are at the end of their service life.
CDOT has chosen the construction manager/general contractor method to “secure a qualified Designer and a Contractor with the needed expertise for the Project and provides early and continuous collaboration between the Owner, Designer, General Contractor, and stakeholders throughout all Project phases.”
The project will enter the design phase once a construction manager is selected.
Construction scheduling and traffic impacts are not yet clear, but drivers can expect construction delays once the project begins.
The bridge replacement is part of a larger examination of existing infrastructure issues along the highway, which runs about five miles from I-25 to I-70 through Adams County and Commerce City. The highway is a primary route for commercial truck traffic serving the industrial businesses in Commerce City and surrounding areas as well as through traffic headed north on I-25.
Four of the bridges to be replaced cross the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroad lines and require extra engineering and approvals from both the railroads and the federal government, which may delay those bridge replacements.
CDOT is preparing an environmental assessment for improvements to the entire corridor, which may include widening the highway to three lanes in each direction and deal with roadway sinking caused by construction of the highway over a historic landfill and other safety improvements.
A 2012 policy directive from the Colorado Transportation Commission requires CDOT to “strongly consider” the use of managed lanes on all highway projects, and CDOT says it is considering that option for the corridor improvements.
I-270 is heavily used as a bypass for traffic heading for I-70 eastbound, I-25 northbound, Aurora and Denver International Airport, with more than 100,000 daily users.
An estimated 11% of the traffic is heavy trucks. Asked about restricting trucks to one lane, CDOT says designated truck lanes are typically considered when trucks comprise 20% or more of the traffic volume. Auxiliary lanes are being considered between some interchanges to allow for truck acceleration and merging. Wider shoulders for emergency stopping are also being considered.
Construction started on I-270 in 1965 and was completed in 1970 at a total cost of more than $107 million.