Local consensus for future interchange (not overpass) at Ridge Road & Hwy 24
It may be years before the actual construction happens, but a group of local elected officials led a consensus at a Feb. 1 meeting of the Executive Leadership Team
(ELT) to allow a full Ridge Road interchange at Highway 24,
The concept “will help us move forward in preparing the preferred alternative” for a future Westside Highway 24 expansion, according to Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) project leader Dave Watt.
Until the ELT meeting, the most typically displayed plans from CDOT had shown a Ridge/24 overpass with no access to or from Ridge Road.
The elected officials offered the possibility that money from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) could be used to pay for the ramps that would allow a full interchange. District 3 County Commissioner Sallie Clark said she worked especially with Colorado Springs City Council member Jerry Heimlicher and Manitou Mayor Eric Drummond on the proposal. “I think we're making headway,” she said of her efforts to make the proposed expansion more responsive to the local area. An overpass without Ridge Road access had been opposed by residents off Ridge Road as well as some citizens concerned about the loss of highway access to the city-owned Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
No costs have yet been established for the Ridge/24 upgrade, with or without ramps. Watt also did not have a date to present a preferred alternative for public review, but said CDOT and its consultants hope to bring one forward “at some point hopefully in the near future.” CDOT's announced plan is to use the preferred alternative to develop an Environmental Assessment (EA) that will be submitted for federal review in early 2009. The EA will define how to expand Highway 24 between I-25 and the Manitou interchange.
However, the project has no funding, and current local priorities would not start any of the work until 2016. The Ridge Road work is not foreseen until 2031 at the earliest.
Westside Pioneer article