The Colorado Dept. of Transportation will receive $15 million from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to help expand and improve I-25 between Fort Collins and Loveland. 

The grant will be used as part of a $230-million project that will construct one tolled express lane in each direction of north I-25 for 14 miles, from State Highway 14 to S.H. 402. Improvements and highway expansion along the entire northern I-25 corridor could cost up to $1 billion, CDOT says.

Significant population growth along the North I-25 corridor in recent years has led to congestion and travel delays. CDOT forecasts that population growth will increase the number of vehicles making daily trips along the I-25 corridor by 60% in 2040. According to some estimates, the congestion has cost Northern Colorado businesses $56 million in lost revenue and created major delays for commuters along the Front Range.

The planned improvements will provide much-needed capacity and help ease congestion in the corridor. The project also includes transit, pedestrian and cycle improvements that will connect Northern Colorado to the Denver metro area.

“The communities of Northern Colorado came together in an unprecedented way to make this a reality,” says Shailen Bhatt, executive director of CDOT. “With this TIGER [Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery] money, CDOT can complete the funding for improvements to this segment of the North I-25 corridor, a vital part of our state’s economic development.”

Local leaders, including the I-25 Coalition, the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance, the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization and local elected officials, have worked with Colorado’s congressional delegation to call attention to the corridor’s congestion.

“Congestion on the North I-25 corridor is stifling economic growth and affecting people’s quality of life,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in a statement. “These communities have been working together for years to find the resources to expand I-25. While this funding is a critical first step, we need to continue working to ensure that CDOT and local governments have the resources they need to finish the job.”

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s competitive TIGER program, which provides funding for investments in road, rail, transit and port projects that have a significant impact on the nation, regions or metropolitan areas.

The grant program was renewed last year when Congress passed the FAST Act, a five-year highway and transit-funding bill.