July 26, 2021
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The Colorado Transportation Commission recently signed off on a $30 million major interchange project at Interstate 70 and Harvest Road near the Denver International Airport that includes roundabouts for traffic management, transit-dedicated lanes, and miles of pedestrian, bicycle, and hiking trails.

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT.]

The aim of this multimodal project is to move people and commerce to the Denver International Airport and the adjacent Colorado Aerotropolis – a residential, commercial and industrial community expected to create 170,000 new jobs.

Shoshana Lew

“This is a tremendous and collaborative effort between the Colorado Department of Transportation and our regional partners in Denver, Aurora and Adams County, resulting in an innovative model for linking new housing to transit and considering a range of approaches to help mitigate [traffic] demands on I-70,” explained Shoshana Lew, Colorado DOT’s executive director, in a statement. “This collaboration takes innovative strides in how we consider land use in transportation planning.”

The Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority – which represents the City of Aurora, Adams County and the Aerotropolis Area Coordinating Metro District – is funding this project, with the Colorado DOT contributing up to $2 million for creating a shuttle service and ARTA committed to matching that contribution to enhance multimodal options.

The project’s “multimodal options” include a three-mile-long pedestrian/bike trail, 10 additional miles of trails north of I-70 and south of the Denver International Airport, a proposed bridge span to accommodate managed lanes – including express/HOV/transit lanes – on I-70, along with the “optimization” of transit operations and delivery to the area.

“The area’s transportation corridor needs have been studied since the opening of the airport more than 20 years ago, needs which are in direct support of Colorado DOT’s 2016 Colorado Aerotropolis Visioning Study,” explained ARTA Chairman Matt Hopper.

“The progress made on making this a multimodal interchange in the growing Aerotropolis area marks an exciting time of collaboration with local governments and Colorado DOT,” he said. “We are working toward the common good of the Aerotropolis region’s transportation system, the state’s economy, and our quality of life.”

“It takes solid local and regional partnerships to achieve the best outcomes for transportation,” added Doug Rex, executive director of the Denver Regional Council of Governments. “This project is much more than an interchange. It will set a new bar for how all modes of transportation should be considered and planned in lockstep with the community and its future development.”

editor@aashto.org

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