19 january 2017
Federal Highway Administration
Approves I-70 Project
It took 14 years, but the Colorado Department of Transportation finally received approval from the Federal Highway Administration to move ahead with the construction project on I-70. The project will cost about $1.2 billion dollars, and it will encompass about 10 miles of I-70 from Brighton Blvd. in Denver to Chambers Rd. in Aurora.
The project is known as the Central 70 project; it will demolish 56 homes and 17 businesses, most of which are located in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods of northeast Denver. Central 70 will widen the highway from six lanes to ten lanes when all is said and done; but a two mile stretch between Colorado Blvd. and Brighton Blvd. will be the most challenging, as Central 70 intends to replace the current highway with a below-grade highway. This is driven in large part by the currently existing viaduct, a 53 year old staple of northeast Denver. It is showing significant signs of deterioration, and must be replaced.
To alleviate risks of floods associated with the underground highway, CDOT has created a storm drainage project plan that will benefit the intended underground design; and on top, CDOT plans to build a 4-acre parkland cap. The park will conveniently lie next to Swansea Elementary School’s playground.
With approval from the FHA, CDOT is now able to move forward and request final bid solicitations from four groups of professionals vying for a public-private partnership. The candidate selected by CDOT will be responsible for designing, financing, building, maintaining and operating Central 70. The project will impose on project contractors a 20 percent local hiring target; pay and remodel parts of Swansea Elementary; provide financing related to air filtration improvement for some homes in the area; and contribute $2 million toward affordable housing projects. The 56 homeowners and renters, as well as the 17 businesses that will be displaced will receive relocation assistance, as well as just compensation for real estate owners.
Opposition groups have made several attempts to delay or halt the project, and although one lawsuit over federal air quality standards is still pending, reports suggest the project may begin as early as next year, and is estimated to require about 4 to 5 years to complete.
As one of Colorado’s oldest law firms, Hamilton Faatz, PC has the vast experience and knowledge in condemnation and eminent domain law to fight for you and your property. If your property is in the process of being condemned, our wisdom and experience will ensure you receive the full value of your property.