You think it takes a long time to get big projects moving. You;’re right. Here is a somewhat detailed and lengthy essay from Frisco, Co. city manager Michael Penny. He is is also chairman of the I-70 Coalition and serves on Gov. Ritter’s Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel and the Colorado Department of Transportation Federal Reauthorization Committee.
The bullet points:
• The description of the I-70 improvements will be legally completed in 2010.
• Smaller highway improvement projects may start as soon as 2011.
• Major highway improvements may begin in 2017.
• If determined to be feasible, rail design could begin for our segment of I-70 as soon as 2010 and, if financing is secured, construction could begin between 2015-2020.
There are no silver bullets or easy answers to this corridor. This corridor serves as an Interstate highway, a tourist avenue and as our local road. The users are many. The government entities and geographic regions involved are numerous. The Interstate also runs through some of the most pristine and rugged scenery in the country. The solutions are complex and costly. This all adds up to taking the time to make the right decisions, following the correct legal procedures, finding the right funding mechanisms, and designing and constructing the solution in a way which minimizes the social, economic, historic and environmental impacts.
If you are interested in learning more, check these three websites:www.i70solutions.org, www.rockymountainrail.org, andwww.dot.state.co.us/StateWidePlanning/PlansStudies/blueribbon.asp
One wonders if a Midwest High Speed Rail Association type solution might be in order. That would use existing rail lines at 115+ mph. There are plenty of locations where that might work, maybe Colorado is one of them, but there geography there is tricky. Very rugged.
One must also anticipate opposition from NIMBY’s, environmentalists, or other pain-in-the-rear-end local activists.
Based on my scant recollection of the area, it seems as if expanding i-70 would be the worst possible solution. That puppy was busting at the seems in the 70’s and it must be worse now.