The Colorado Dept. of Transportation recently selected the Ames-Granite joint venture team as the design-build contractor for the U.S. 36 Express Lanes. The $310-million project is led by CDOT, the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE), and the Regional Transportation District.

It will reconstruct the existing U.S. 36 pavement and widen the highway to add one express lane in each direction. It also includes other transportation improvements from Federal Boulevard to beyond the Interlocken Loop interchange along U.S. 36.

The Ames/Granite proposal successfully addressed all five goals outlined in the request for proposals and provided the best value by beating the project completion schedule by six months. The proposal also committed to build several improvements that were desired but not included in the base project, including extending the terminus of the project west to 88th Street and reconstructing two additional bridges on the corridor.

“We had some of the best teams in the country competing for this project,” said John Schwab, CDOT project director. “Ames/Granite was determined as the best fit based on its ability to combine an aggressive schedule with extended length and additional elements, providing the best overall value for the project budget.”

The Ames-Granite team will begin construction this summer and open the express lanes to the public by December 31, 2014, six months ahead of the required July 1, 2015 operational date.

The portion of the U.S. 36 Express Lanes project from Federal Boulevard to 88th Street is Phase 1 of a two-phased project. The Phase 1 base project elements include:

• Adding an express lane, also referred to as a managed lane, in each direction of U.S. 36 for bus rapid transit and high-occupancy vehicles to travel free of charge. Solo drivers also will be able to use the express lane by paying a toll that varies by the time of day. The existing lanes of U.S. 36 remain free as an option so motorists will have more choices—pay a toll, carpool or ride the bus for a more efficient trip, or travel free in the existing lanes.

• Reconstructing existing pavement on U.S. 36 and widening the highway to accommodate 12-ft inside and outside shoulders;

• Replacing the Wadsworth Parkway, Wadsworth Boulevard (at 112th Avenue) and Lowell Boulevard bridges over U.S. 36.

• Adding bus rapid transit improvements, including new electronic display signage at stations and bus-priority improvements at ramps. The improvements also will allow buses to operate on the shoulders of U.S. 36 between interchanges to decrease bus travel time.