The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the New Pueblo Freeway details the Preferred Alternative and project phasing for the reconfiguration and redesign of I-25 through Pueblo. The purpose of the Record of Decision (ROD) is to document the FHWA’s decision on the New Pueblo Freeway Project.
What is the New Pueblo Freeway?
In 2000, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) initiated a study of I-25 through Pueblo, Colorado. The study integrated the transportation planning process with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) process to evaluate improvements to the I-25 corridor through Pueblo.
Through this NEPA/planning process, which included input by City of Pueblo engineering and planning staff, transportation conditions along I-25 through Pueblo were described, needs were identified, and transportation problems were defined. Consistent with NEPA and the regulation of the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, an active public participation program captured community values held by the citizens of Pueblo in a Vision Statement that asks FHWA and CDOT to respect the traditions and trends of the Pueblo community as they develop solutions to roadway problems. The culmination of this planning effort is called the New Pueblo Freeway project.
The purpose of the New Pueblo Freeway project is to: 1) improve safety by addressing deteriorating roadways and bridges and unsafe road characteristics on I-25; and 2) improve local and regional mobility within and through the City to meet existing and future travel demands. The need for the project results from the highway’s age and the design practices at the time it was built, which has led to the safety and mobility problems described in detail in the EIS.
Construction of New Pueblo Freeway Begins
July 1, 2015 - Southeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 2 - Event marks start of long-term improvements to I-25.
PUEBLO – The first project to reconstruct Interstate 25 through Pueblo officially is underway after a groundbreaking ceremony near Runyon Field today.
Dignitaries with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Federal Highway Administration, the City of Pueblo, Pueblo County and the contractor team of Flatiron Constructors and the engineering firm HDR broke ground on the reconstruction of I-25 between City Center Drive (1st Street) and Ilex Street. The project also includes upgrading a number of bridges south of downtown.
“I-25 through the heart of Pueblo is one of the oldest segments of freeway we have in the state so this reconstruction is long overdue,” said CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. “It has not seen any upgrades to modernize it since it was originally built in the 1950s. I’m glad that we’re finally able to build a project that’ll greatly enhance safety and mobility for both for the citizens of Pueblo and the people who travel through this area.”
The $69 million project consists of:
Constructing new bridges on I-25 over D Street, the Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railroad, and Gruma Street and replacing two structurally-deficient bridges, built in 1959, which cross over Ilex and Bennett streets and railroad tracks.
Rehabilitating six bridges on I-25 northbound over U.S. 50 Business, northbound and southbound over Indiana Avenue, U.S. 50 Business over the Arkansas River, and over I-25 on Northern and Mesa avenues.
Building the new D Street (replacing Ilex Street).
Installing new utilities, lighting and permanent water quality ponds.
Rebuilding 1st Street (City Center Drive) on and off ramps.
Constructing new retaining and sound walls, sidewalks, curbs and gutters.
Enhancing area aesthetics and landscaping.
“Getting to this point was textbook of how a number of agencies can partner together to improve our infrastructure,” added Bhatt. “Today is a celebration of what we can accomplish by working together.”
The project is funded through Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER* – 60%) and Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnership (RAMP** – 40%).
"This I-25 project represents safety for our community, jobs for pueblo, and the opportunity to beautify the entrance to our downtown, said Pueblo County Commissioner Liane "Buffie" McFadyen. “We celebrate the beginning of this project, it’s been a long time coming!”
*FASTER generates funding comprised of car rental fees and weight-based vehicle registration fees. Monies collected under the FASTER Safety Fund are to be used for construction, reconstruction or maintenance projects the State Transportation Commission, a county or municipality determine are needed to enhance the safety of a state highway, county road or city street.
FASTER also dedicates money to bridges through the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE), a government-owned business entity with CDOT. The Colorado Legislature created the CBE to complete designated bridge projects that involve the financing, repair, reconstruction and replacement of bridges designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and rated “poor.” More information is available at www.coloradodot.info/programs/bridgeenterprise
**RAMP is better coordinating project expenditures and available funding. Under the program, CDOT will fund multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount of a project before construction begins. For more information, including a list of RAMP project requests, please see our website: http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/RAMP
I-25 Bridges Over Ilex and UPRR Design Build
The first project of Phase 1 of the Preferred Alternative is moving forward into design and construction. The structurally deficient Ilex Viaduct will be replaced with two separate bridges. The project will maintain full access off Exit 98A to Ilex Street until future phases of construction. Preserving this existing interchange requires removal of the existing Ilex Street. To retain access to the northbound ramps, a portion of the ultimate Stanton Avenue extension is included to connect these ramps to Santa Fe Avenue. A minimal amount of I-25 reconstruction will be required to tie the ultimate bridge location (under the shifted I-25 alignment) back into the current I-25 alignment until subsequent phases of the project are constructed. Improvements to the southbound on-ramp from 1st Street and the northbound off-ramp to 1st Street are also included in this project, along with the viaduct replacement on I-25 between the Ilex Viaduct and the 1st Street Bridge. The Ilex Bridge to 1st Street on I-25 project will be the first project for construction to begin in the summer of 2014.