Completion of $42.5 million project in Colorado adds safety, lessens congestion

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined state and local officials for the Aug. 26 opening of the first phase of the Woodmen Road Corridor Improvement project, ending two years of construction and decades of planning on one of the city’s most congested routes.

“This project is a perfect example of why investing in local infrastructure is a smart use of government funds,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “In addition to improved safety and reduced congestion, this project created jobs during construction and its completion will promote long-term economic growth.”

Thanks to money from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and coordination between the Colorado Department of Transportation, Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and the city of Colorado Springs, the 11-mile-long project’s first phase was completed almost exactly two years after construction began in 2009.

Planning for the $42.5 million Woodmen Road Corridor Improvement began in the 1980s. Construction began in September 2009, and the project was completed on budget and 34 days early with the help of $35 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more commonly known as “the stimulus.”

“This corridor improvement project would not be possible without Recovery Act dollars,” said Mendez in a written statement. “By putting people back to work and improving a key roadway in one of Colorado’s most important communities, we are making a long-term investment not only in the safety of drivers in Colorado Springs but also in the state economy as as whole.”

The project includes a new interchange at Woodmen Road and Academy Boulevard, two of Colorado Springs’ busiest streets which serve an estimated 126,900 daily drivers combined. Woodmen Road between I-25 and Bell Drive was also widened from four to six lanes for 1.5 miles, which will help improve traffic flow and reduce delays. In addition, new east-west bike lanes and sidewalks will give Colorado Springs’ residents even more transportation options.

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The wider road and the new “single-point” interchange will improve traffic flow and lower airborne emissions caused by idling. This is possible because the new interchange on Academy Boulevard has no traffic lights and is free flowing and Woodmen Road relies on signal timing improvements.