North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this project happening?

Communities along the North I-25 corridor are expanding rapidly, contributing to major economic growth in Northern Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation will support this growth by delivering the North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins project.

How will this project benefit me?

This project delivers many benefits to community members and commuters along the North I-25 corridor. The North I-25 Express Lanes project will:

    Interstate 25
  • Increase highway capacity by adding an Express Lane in both directions
  • Replace aging bridges and widen others Improve bus service performance and reduce each total trip time by 15 minutes by adding new bus slip ramps from I-25 to the new Park-n-Ride at Kendall Parkway
  • Create new pedestrian and bicycle access under I-25 at Kendall Parkway
  • Connect the Cache la Poudre River Regional Trail under I-25 and network to 100 miles of trails, and also serve as a wildlife corridor
  • Improve interchanges at Highway 402 and Prospect Road
  • How long will it take to build this project?

    This project is expected to begin construction in 2018 and end in 2020.

    How is this project funded?

    The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded CDOT and local partners a $15 million TIGER grant, assisting them in funding this $302 million expansion of North I-25. The project received widespread support by all of the communities and counties served by this corridor who have contributed significant funds for the original project scope, totaling more than $25 million, and as much as $28 million in other additional project scope improvements. Local partners include the City of Fort Collins, City of Loveland, Town of Berthoud, Town of Johnstown, Larimer County, Weld County, Town of Timnath, Town of Windsor and McWhinney (private developer). The cost that remains after these contributions will be covered by other state funding mechanisms.

    Why has it taken so long to do this project?

    As with many other planned transportation projects throughout the state, the ability to fund these improvements remains a challenge. Currently, the majority of CDOT funding goes to maintaining the highway system in its current condition. With the financial investment by communities and counties along the corridor and the Federal TIGER grant, CDOT is able to deliver this project on an accelerated timeline, sooner than anticipated.

    According to the State Demography Office, the population of Larimer County—currently 316,000 residents—is expected to increase by 52 percent by 2040. Similarly, Weld County’s population of 268,400 residents is expected to increase by 111 percent by 2040. CDOT forecasts that this population growth will increase the number of vehicles making daily trips along the I-25 corridor by 60 percent in 2040. To provide the same, or better, quality of life and economic vitality for the future, improvements are needed on I-25.

    CDOT is designing the North I-25 corridor in segments and phases according to the 2011 Final Environmental Impact Statement, which analyzed potential transportation solutions along the corridor between Fort Collins/Wellington and downtown Denver, as well as along US 85 and US 287. There are currently Express Lanes in place along I-25 between downtown Denver and 120th Avenue in Northglenn. CDOT is currently extending the Express Lanes that end at 120th Avenue to E-470/Northwest Parkway.

    Are local governments and officials involved?

    Local partners and elected officials have been heavily involved in the planning, implementation and funding of this critically important project.

    In 2013, an I-25 Coalition was formed to help manage and accelerate improvements to the corridor. Six Northern Colorado communities, Weld and Larimer Counties, CDOT, Chambers of Commerce and private businesses have all been collaborating to help bring these improvements to fruition.

    The I-25 Coalition has grown steadily and is currently made up of 90 representatives from Adams, Larimer and Weld Counties, Berthoud, Broomfield, Dacono, Erie, Firestone, Fort Collins, Frederick, Johnstown, Loveland, Mead, Northglenn, Timnath, Thornton and Windsor as well as CDOT, businesses and other interested agencies.

    Will this project be a Public-Private Partnership?

    This project will not be a Public-Private Partnership, meaning CDOT will continue to operate and maintain the roadway.

    Why is an Express Lane being implemented?

    This project will add one Express Lane in each direction along I-25 between Johnstown and Fort Collins, in addition to the existing two general purpose lanes in each direction. Express Lanes have proven success in increasing roadway capacity and helping to manage congestion on Colorado highways by adding a lane that provides a new choice to drivers. Motorists can choose to ride the bus, carpool or pay a toll to use the new Express Lanes as an alternative to the free general purpose lanes.

    Adding an Express Lane optimizes trip reliability for those accessing it. When drivers choose to use the Express Lanes, space frees up in the general purpose lanes and improves speeds for the general purpose lanes, too. The result is a corridor that moves more vehicles and people more efficiently.

    To use any Colorado Express Lanes, you will need an ExpressToll account and pass to avoid a higher license plate toll. The Switchable HOV Transponder is the only pass that allows you to choose the carpool option and use the lanes for free if the driver has two or more passengers. A traveler may also use the lane without cost via transit providers like Bustang. Motorists can get a pass by visiting expresstoll.com.

    How much will the toll cost?

    Express Lanes help to manage traffic congestion and toll rates will vary by time of day to provide reliable travel times. Toll rates are set to provide reliable travel times and are not set to maximize revenue. Toll rates have not yet been set. The toll rates and any rate changes will be approved by CDOT’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise.

    How will construction impact my daily commute?

    During the daytime, two lanes of travel will remain open to ensure travel reliability to motorists. Motorists can expect lane closures at nighttime, when travel volumes are lower. Construction at the interchanges may also result in detours and impacts to the driving public.

    What other projects are taking place in this area?

    • North I-25 Express Lanes: 120th Ave. to NW Pkwy/E-470 (Summer 2016 – Winter 2018) – This $97.5 million project adds capacity and provides travel choice and reliability by adding one HOV/Express Lane in each direction along this stretch of I-25, along with other operational and safety improvements.
    • I-25 Crossroads Bridge (Fall 2016 – Summer 2018) – This $22.1 million project will replace the bridges on I-25 at Crossroads Boulevard and reconstruct I-25 with wider pavement, shoulders, improved roadway grades and roadside safety for approximately one-half mile north and south of Crossroads Boulevard. 

    How can I ask questions and stay informed?

    The best way to stay informed is to visit the project website:
    https://www.codot.gov/projects/north-i-25/johnstown-to-fort-collins/johnstown-fort-collins

    As the project nears the beginning of construction, the public will be invited to attend meetings to learn more.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION—To learn more about the North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins project, visit https://www.codot.gov/projects/north-i-25/johnstown-to-fort-collins