The Colorado Dept. of Transportation, Douglas County and the Federal Highway Administration held a ribbon-cutting on Dec. 12 marking the opening of the new flyover ramp from southbound Santa Fe Drive to eastbound C-470—four months ahead of schedule and approximately $600,000 under budget.
The $23.3-million project, partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, constructed the flyover ramp as well as a vehicle and a pedestrian bridge over Erickson Boulevard. A new climbing lane was constructed on eastbound C-470 between Santa Fe Drive and Lucent Boulevard, and the bicycle/pedestrian trail was reconstructed.
While the roadway improvements are critical to the state’s transportation infrastructure, the project also supported the construction industry and Colorado’s economy by providing jobs for 1,692 workers—contractors and subcontractors. The employees worked 103,347 hours on the project for a total payroll of nearly $2.6 million. This does not include indirect jobs such as those created by manufacturers and suppliers.
“The Recovery Act was essential in accelerating key construction projects such as this one while generating construction jobs and other economic benefits for Colorado,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt. “With the recent improvements, motorists now have improved connectivity to the C-470 corridor, and there is an effective transportation infrastructure in place to support regional growth.”
The various improvements on C-470, Santa Fe Drive and Erickson Boulevard provide the following benefits for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians:
• The new flyover ramp from southbound Santa Fe Drive to eastbound C-470 will improve safety and mobility on Santa Fe Drive, as the heavy ramp traffic will no longer have to stop at the traffic signal.
• With free-flowing traffic from southbound Santa Fe Drive to eastbound C-470, there will be more signal time dedicated for the northbound Santa Fe Drive to westbound C-470 turn movement. There is also an additional left turn lane from northbound Santa Fe Drive to westbound C-470.
• A new climbing lane was constructed on eastbound C-470 between Santa Fe Drive and Lucent Boulevard providing motorists, including heavy trucks, more time to reach travel speeds before merging with traffic.
• The new bicycle/pedestrian bridge will improve safety by providing a grade-separated crossing for bicyclists and pedestrians.
“Relieving congestion at the C-470/Santa Fe interchange not only benefits the citizens and taxpayers of northern Douglas County and those from southwestern Douglas County who utilize the Santa Fe corridor, but also thousands of commuters from throughout South Metro Denver,” said Jill Repella, Douglas County Commissioner. “This successful project demonstrates that a federal, state and local government partnership can effectively maximize the taxpayer dollar to address our collective transportation needs and challenges.”
While the southbound Santa Fe Drive flyover ramp to eastbound C-470 and the two Erickson Boulevard bridges are now open to traffic, crews still have some minor cleanup work to complete over the next month. The entire project will be complete by the end of January.
Edward Kraemer and Sons Inc. is the contractor for the $23.3-million project funded by ARRA, state and federal funds, Douglas County and the Denver Regional Council of Governments.
The second phase of this interchange improvement project will reconstruct the Santa Fe Drive Bridge over C-470 and widen Santa Fe Drive to three lanes in each direction between Blakeland Drive and County Line Road. The Santa Fe Drive/County Line Road intersection will also be improved with double left-turn lanes and right-turn lanes. Funding has not yet been identified for this project, so a construction date has not been set.