Planners narrow options for I-70

Advisory group will present its preferred plan on March 18.
Friday, February 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:16 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The Improve I-70 Advisory Group on Thursday narrowed down the number of plans it is considering using to overhaul the state’s busiest interstate.

When the committee met in November, three different types of road proposals were on the table. Since that meeting, the proposal has been consolidated into one road plan with different options at seven intersections.

Committee weighs access versus speed

Buddy Desai, an engineer for the consulting firm CH2MHill, described the two major types of road systems that will likely be used along I-70.

“There is the one-way interchange that most businesses and residents will prefer because it allows for more access points, and then the collector distributor, which has less access points but allows for faster travel,” he said.

The one-way design has multiple connections to a frontage road system, but it makes the roadway slower and more dangerous because of all the points of entry.

The collector distributor system, with its limited points of access, means travel time can be cut at the expense of convenience.

Intersection alternatives for Stadium Boulevard

CH2MHill identified several “reasonable alternatives” for the different intersections along I-70. At a meeting Thursday, the advisory group focused mainly on the intersection at Stadium Boulevard.

After starting out with six alternatives for the intersection, the group eliminated two that incorporated a loop system.

The group argued that building loop ramps off I-70 will be extremely costly and increase the number of homes and businesses affected by the new roadway.

Of the remaining four options, one has yet to be studied. Two of the proposals are expected to be eliminated in the next few days, after the final study is completed.

Kevin Nichols, an engineer for CH2MHill, said that when determining which plans to eliminate, the group looked for plans that would heavily impact existing residential and business areas. It also looked at overall costs and the distances between road access points.

Advisory group will seek public feedback

The advisory group will next meet on March 18 when it will present its preferred alternative. This will be a single plan for the I-70 project devised from the alternatives that survived Thursday’s session.

After the March 18 meeting, the public will be asked to provide feedback on the final proposal throughout the summer. This will be the last stage of the modification process before the I-70 plan will be submitted to the state Transportation Department.

“Once we propose the preferred alternative and MODOT accepts it, then we will move forward with the process,” Desai said.

CH2MHill has not completed impact assessments for all the different plans. The company assured the advisory group that the impact numbers would be finished by the next meeting.

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