Thinking big to develop a growing region
Metro Denver has made significant improvements to the region's transportation infrastructure in the past decade. From development of the area's beltway and toll roads (C-470, E-470, and the Northwest Parkway), to completion of the $1.67 billion T-REX Project (Transportation Expansion Project), Metro Denver is continually expanding its highway system to efficiently move people and goods.
In 2019, CDOT devised a 10-Year Vision and Strategy Map to continue ensuring highway and transit projects across the state are prioritized, and that funding is secured through various pieces of state and federal legislation. Much of the plan was incorporated into Senate Bill 260, a $5.4 billion transportation bill passed by the Colorado State Legislature during the 2020 Legislative session.
The legislation charges road-user fees to secure funds to continue expanding and repairing Colorado’s highway system, improve transit and encourage the use of electric vehicles in the state. Road-user fees will go into effect in 2022.
During construction 2001-2006, T-REX was the nation's largest multimodal project. T-REX added 19 miles of light rail and improved 17 miles of highways and bridges in southeast Denver. The project connects the region's two largest employment centers – the Denver Tech Center and Denver's Central Business District.
Metro Denver's Beltway
Three quarters of the beltway around Metro Denver has been completed to date (C-470, E-470, and the Northwest Parkway):
- Construction began in 1982 on C-470, the first portion of Metro Denver's beltway. All three phases of the 26-mile transportation project, extending from I-25 in the southern Metro Denver area to I-70 near Golden, were completed by 1990.
- The 47-mile E-470 toll road runs along the eastern perimeter of Metro Denver, extending from state highway C-470 at I-25, running east then north along the western edge of Denver International Airport, terminating at I-25 on the north end of Metro Denver just south of 160th Avenue. The first E-470 segment opened in 1991, the second in 1999, with the final leg completed in 2003.
- The Northwest Parkway toll road, completed in 2003, seamlessly connects with E-470 at I-25, and with U.S. 36 and State Highway 128 in Broomfield.
Central 70 Project
CDOT began the Central 70 project in fall 2018 to reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70 East, add express lanes in each direction, removing an aging viaduct and lower the interstate to enable construction of a park. In 2022, the project will be completed to the point where traffic will be in final configuration, with landscaping and the construction of the park continuing into 2023.
This stretch of road connects the region to DEN, carrying upwards of 200,000 vehicles per day. The project addresses structural deficiencies and provides additional mobility for goods, services and individuals traveling the region daily.
Freight Service The BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad, both Class I railroads, provide freight service in Metro Denver. Both companies are working with the Colorado Department of Transportation on potential rail infrastructure improvements in the state – the Front Range Railroad Infrastructure Rationalization Project. The study evaluated relocating rail infrastructure east, away from the Front Range and major population centers.
Passenger service in Metro Denver is available on Amtrak via the California Zephyr route, which connects Chicago to San Francisco and follows a scenic path through the plains and the Rocky Mountains. Amtrak service is based out of Denver Union Station, connecting passengers directly to where light rail, buses, and passenger rail converge.
In 2017, The Colorado Department of Transportation tasked the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission with facilitating and implementing future passenger rail along the Front Range and Interstate 25 corridor. The proposed line would service Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Denver over 173 miles, ultimately connecting with other multimodal transportation systems along Interstate 25. Currently, the Front Range Passenger Rail Commission is completing rail simulation model studies to determine compatibility with existing lines.
- Traffic.com - Denver traffic and road construction reports
- CoTrip.org - Colorado road/weather conditions and highway info.
- Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission