CDOT held an informative stakeholder meeting on the project on Thursday evening, December 16th (click link above). CDOT conducted a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study in 2019-2020 examining I-25 from the Santa Fe/US85 interchange to 20th Street. The existing bridges at Speer and 23rd , which date back to the 1950s, were found to be structurally deficient and with low clearance, are frequently struck by trucks passing underneath. Funding has been identified to replace these bridges, and CDOT is now focusing on this segment of I-25 to ensure the new bridges will provide for future roadway improvements. In addition, the project seeks to improve safety and facilities for pedestrians and bikes along with improved interchanges and Express Lane extension. The flyer (click link) shows more details on the process and the purpose and need for the project.
Here are a few issues affecting the LoDo area. Right now the only exit from the I-25 southbound Express Lane drops heavy AM traffic into LoDo at 19th and Wynkoop. Extending the Express Lane south and providing a direct ramp to the new Speer interchange, avoiding the weave across the three through lanes, would provide an alternate for traffic heading to downtown, reducing the backup on 19th Street. Similarly, in the PM, having a Speer entrance directly into the Express Lanes will reduce the congestion on 20th Street and Market Street in accessing the Express Lane entrance by Coors Field. The direct northbound Express Lane entrance at Speer will also provide an option to avoid the back-up from the ramp meters on the Speer on-ramp. This will also provide improved access to and from Ball Arena.
The current pedestrian/bike bridge adjacent to the Speer vehicle bridges requires users to cross the cloverleaf ramps at grade. Providing a separate path, perhaps connecting to 26th Avenue, bridging over the ramps and the main freeway lanes would be a significant safety improvement.
The need to coordinate with the planned River Mile development will be important to fit the bridges and the interchanges into the ultimate vision for Denver and I-25. From experience in Riverfront and the new condos and apartments around Union Station, many LoDo residents use I-25 to reach jobs south to the Tech Center, north to points along US 36 and to Boulder. They don’t all work downtown. Access to I-25 from River Mile will make the 23rd Avenue interchange even more critical in the future. While protected bike lanes and better sidewalk connections will be important, separate left turn lanes on 23rd will be needed to avoid lengthy back-ups.
Please send your valuable feedback so that we can consider your concerns at future stakeholder meetings.