The need is there, but the money isn’t; but even Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has referred to the “I-25 gap.”
The gap is a 26-mile stretch of Interstate 25 between Monument, at the El Paso/Douglas county line, and Castle Rock in Douglas County.
It’s the only segment of the highway between Colorado Springs and Denver that still has only two lanes in both directions.
Dave Watt, an engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation, said the gap is a traffic bottleneck worsened by weather storms and special events such as Denver Broncos games and the Renaissance Festival.
“It’s becoming too frequent of a problem, the heavy traffic congestion,” he said. “Especially around Monument Hill and the Greenland exit.”
Many drivers are tired of it, too, and wonder why the stretch hasn’t been widened.
“They widened the highway between Colorado Springs and Monument within a year or so,” said Laura Curtin, a local driver. “I know that’s a shorter distance, but CDOT should be able to widen (the gap) if people demand it.”
Earlier this month, CDOT commissioned an 18-month, $ 2.2 million study of the gap, to determine the feasibility of widening it to three lanes in each direction. The study’s scope includes north of Castle Rock to highway C-470 in the south Denver metro area.
“Our estimates show that a widening project could take as long as 10 years to finish, at a cost of $ 270 million,” Watt said. “We don’t have financing for it yet, but we want to understand all the variables of such a project before we commit to it.”
Drivers like Curtin hope it happens sooner.
“Ten years is a long time to wait,” she said.