Friday, January 5, 2018

CDOT signs contract to build North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins

North I-25

Express lanes will be coming soon to North I-25. The contract for improvements to North I-25 between Johnstown and Fort Collins has been approved, and work is expected to begin this summer.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) awarded the $248 million contract to Kramer/IHC, the preferred contractor for the project since the November bid opening. 

The project will increase capacity on I-25 and provide options to travelers by adding an Express Lane in both directions between SH 402 and SH 14. The project will also replace aging bridges, widen bridges, improve bus service by adding slip ramps from I-25 to Kendall Parkway, create bicycle and pedestrian access under I-25 at Kendall Parkway, and connect the Cache La Poudre River Regional trail under I-25.

Construction is expected to occur from summer 2018 through late 2021. During construction, two lanes will remain open in each direction during the day, with lane closures occurring at night to minimize impact to the traveling public.

For more information, see the CDOT press release, the Coloradoan article, and the Loveland Reporter-Herald article.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Fort Collins couple builds Train Alert system to help reduce traffic backups

At-grade crossing in Loveland. Image credit: Google Maps

Anybody living in Northern Colorado knows there are delays due to trains on many of the major regional corridors. Residents of Fort Collins have worked on a project to alert residents and visitors to the potential delays due to trains. Called Train Alert, the service sends out tweets and web alerts to subscribers with estimated times of northbound Fort Collins and southbound Loveland trains. Future phases will add the opposite directions for each. The service uses cameras and an algorithm to determine a train's location.

For more information, read the article in the Reporter Herald.

2018 Colorado legislative preview: Roads top of mind for Greeley, Weld County lawmakers

Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley. Photo Credit: Greeley Tribune
During a recent economic and revenue forecast, Colorado Legislative Council staff explained the $1 billion of extra spending that may become available to state legislators in 2018. Many local representatives, including Rep Lori Saine, R-Firestone and Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, hope that the extra funding will go toward Colorado’s identified $9 billion road construction need. I-25 and US85 emerged as priorities, with representatives noting that delays cost the state both time and money.

Senator Cooke is also working on a bill that could raise $3.5 to 4 billion through bonding. According to his plan, the debt would be prioritized in the general budget as a $300 million annual item. This plan was proposed as an alternative to meeting infrastructure funding needs with tax increases. 

For more information, check our Tyler Silvy’s article in The Greeley Tribune.

Hickenlooper pushing for more transportation funding in state budget

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
On Tuesday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper sent a letter to the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee requesting $148.2M of the anticipated $256.5M in new general-fund revenues be spent on transportation. The expected increase in revenue is based on forecasts for the current and next fiscal years from the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting. Hickenlooper asked that the rest of the revenue go to the general-fund reserve, or “Rainy Day Fund.” The Governor's letter comes after the passage of Senate Bill 267, which authorized $1.9B in financing for transportation projects in the coming years, the first step in addressing CDOT’s projected $9B shortfall over the next decade.

Read more from the Denver Business Journal.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Drivers beware of sun glare

Image result for sun glare
Image credit: Flickr
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) closed eastbound Interstate I-70 at mile marker 244 on Monday morning due to 'extreme sun glare.' Sun glare can be a dangerous problem for drivers, especially from November through February due to the sun's angle. The configuration of certain roadways leaves some areas especially vulnerable. Follow these tips from CDOT to prepare for sun glare:
  • Make sure your windshield is clean — inside and out
  • Wear a good pair of sunglasses to provide shading
  • Expect traffic slowdowns and adjust your speed to avoid sudden reactions
  • Let off the accelerator and slow down gradually instead of slamming on the brakes, if suddenly blinded by the sun
Red more from the Coloradoan.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CDOT and Kraemer/IHC to begin negotiations to build North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins

Image Credit: Denver Post
On November 17, CDOT opened bids for the North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins project. Kraemer/IHC was recommended for the project and negotiation for the final award is underway. The project will add a northbound and southbound express lane from Johnstown to Fort Collins, replacing aging bridges, widening bridges, and adding pedestrian and bicycle access under I-25 at Kendall Parkway in the process. The project will also connect the Cache la Poudre River Regional Trail under I-25.

The project has been made possible through extensive partnerships with local staff and elected officials from Larimer and Weld counties, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Johnstown, Loveland, Windsor, Timnath and McWhinney. Construction is set to begin in 2018 and will be completed late in 2021. Throughout construction, two lanes in each direction will remain open and lane closures will occur at night during low traffic hours.

For more information, read the full article on CDOT’s news page.

Region comes one step closer to transit connecting Greeley, Windsor, and Fort Collins

Image credit: NFRMPO Staff
At Greeley City Council’s work session on Tuesday, Greeley-Evans Transit (GET) Manager Will Jones presented data on routes alternatives, costs, and a resident survey regarding a regional bus route between Greeley, Windsor, and Fort Collins. City Council members voiced support for continued work on the regional route, citing benefits such as reduced congestion. A regional route ran from 2009 to 2011 in Northern Colorado and ultimately failed, but Jones is confident demand has grown in the area based on survey results. Tentatively, GET would purchase five buses, with 80 percent of the $2.8M cost covered by state and federal grants. Annual operations would cost $525,000 with some further grant support anticipated. The timeline is still uncertain, but regional transportation is highlighted in GET’s 5-10 year plan.

Read more about survey results, route alternatives, and scheduling from The Greeley Tribune.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Aging of Colorado and its Impact on Employment

Image credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics

It is common knowledge America's population is aging and this is leading to a shift in certain segments of the economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its long-term occupational employment projections from 2016 to 2026. As shown in this report, the demographic shift has led to an increase in healthcare-related services and employment. A mix of jobs will see the largest growth as a result, including home health aides, personal care aides, and physical therapy aides, Physicians Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and Physical Therapists. This will lead to a bifurcation of the health-care economy between higher paid, higher education jobs and lower paid, lower education jobs.

More analysis about this report is available from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving DUI Enforcement to Crack Down on Impaired Drivers

Image Credit: CDOT
DUI enforcement efforts are ramping up this holiday weekend across the state. Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and over 100 other agencies are participating in the enforcement campaign, known as The Heat Is On campaign, to reduce injuries and fatalities caused by impaired drivers. The campaign runs from Friday, November 17 through Monday, November 27 and could include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, or an increased number of patrols.

To confirm you are sober before you drive, CDOT recommends personal breathalyzers and also offers the free R-U-Buzzed app which tracks blood alcohol content (BAC) based on weight, gender, and the number of drinks consumed within a given time.

For more information on the campaign, see the CDOT Press Release.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The @RideBustang Service continues to grow, further route expansion possible

Bustang bus in Colorado Springs. Image credit: Bustang/Instagram

 The CDOT-operated transit system, known as Bustang, continues to grow as people take the three lines radiating from Denver's Union Station to Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, and Colorado Springs. According to CDOT, Bustang has seen a nearly 25 percent jump between July and November compared with the same period in 2016. This is in addition to the rapid growth that has come in the transit system's two years. The success could lead to additional routes, including a possible Frisco-to-Steamboat Springs route. Other changes include the Bustang Outrider program, which will pull subsidized bus routes operated by Greyhound and other transit agencies under the Bustang banner.

Read more in the article from the Aspen Times.