Next CDOT meeting on Westside Highway 24 scheduled May 10

       The next Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) meeting on upgrading Westside Highway 24 is scheduled Wednesday, May 10, at which time CDOT and its consultants expect to reveal a narrowing-down of its design.
       “We're planning to announce a recommendation between an expressway and a freeway,” Mary Jo Vobejda, project leader for main consultant CH2M HILL, said in an interview this week. However, this only applies to the basic road concept; all the previously proposed intersection ideas will still be on the table, she said, and the public's meeting input is welcomed.
       As generally defined by CDOT, an expressway would be wider, with three lanes each way and broad, at-grade intersections with multiple turn lanes, while a freeway would have two to three through lanes each way and grade-separated interchanges. However, a hybrid of these concepts is also possible, Vobejda said.
       “An example is Ridge Road,” she elaborated. “The expressway alternative would have a traffic signal, and the freeway would have an overpass. But there's been a lot of support for an overpass from people who don't support the freeway.”
       The goal after the May 10 meeting is to then determine how to handle each intersection.
       “What we think we'll have by this summer is what every intersection will look like,” she said. Also to be identified by summer will be those homes and businesses that would need to be removed and where noise walls might go in, she said.
       During the time leading up to the May 10 meeting, the CDOT project team will be meeting with representatives of the four local governmental agencies that have a stake in highway changes - El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG). “Definitely, our goal is to learn what they think about it (the CDOT plan), how it impacts them and what they'd like to learn more about,” Vobejda said. However, there will be no effort yet to seek votes of approval from the elected bodies for each of those entities. Vobejda said she believes such a step would be premature at this point, and, in any event, she added, some elected officials are on the two local advisory committees that have been meeting in parallel during the public process.
       That process started in the fall of 2004. The May 10 meeting, like the preceding six on the Westside, will be at the West Intergenera-tional Center, 25 N. 20th St.
       The overall objective for the CDOT project team is to develop an Environmental Assessment that will go to the federal government for a final decision in 2007. No construction funding has yet been provided.

Westside Pioneer article