Colorado, national representatives celebrate start of I-25 extension from Mead to Berthoud – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Shailen Bhatt with Federal Highway Administration, left, talks Thursday with CDOT Region 4 Transportation Director Heather Paddock, center right, and David May, former chair of the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance, right, during the groundbreaking ceremony for Segment 5 of the Northern Colorado I-25 project. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Representatives from across Colorado and even the nation’s capital gathered Thursday afternoon in east Berthoud, overlooking Interstate 25, to celebrate the start of the next leg of the highway expansion project. Once completed, the new segment will connect Fort Collins and Denver with three lanes in each direction.

Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer speaks Thursday, May 30, 2024, during the groundbreaking ceremony for Segment 5 of the Northern Colorado I-25 Project.  (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)
Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer speaks Thursday during the groundbreaking ceremony for Segment 5 of the North Colorado I-25 Project. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

“After more than 50 years… and 4 million more people in Colorado, Colorado’s main street, I-25, with the help of county and city leaders and the business community, is finally getting a much-needed makeover,” said Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer. “It is important not only for Northern Colorado, but for all of Colorado to secure our economic future.”

The celebration and the next part of construction come about six months after the Colorado Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the previous part of the project, through Loveland and up to Fort Collins, and the opening of highways in the area.

The next part of the five-year-old expansion project, called Segment 5, will expand the highway in both directions between Mead and Berthoud. This part of the project officially began on May 12 and is expected to be completed in 2028.

Heather Paddock, regional transportation director for the Colorado Department of Transportation Region 4, said at the event that this portion of the project, like the other segments, will expand the six-mile stretch to three lanes in each direction with the addition of a expressway. as well as reconstructing bridges and a junction to Mead.

“I-25, as I have mentioned many times before, is the vital spine and backbone of Northern Colorado, but it can also be a barrier between east and west connections,” she said. “This project will add these multimodal components to every single bridge it builds as it works its way up I-25, allowing communities like Loveland and Greeley to connect.”

Paddock said Segment 5 is expected to cost $425 million, bringing the total cost for the project from Mead to Fort Collins above $1 billion; the section between Berthoud and Johnstown cost $305 million and the section from Johnstown to Fort Collins cost $302 million, according to CDOT’s website. Funding for the project comes from various state, federal and local funding sources.

Those at Thursday’s event spoke highly of what the expansion will mean once it is completed in bringing local residents to various areas of Northern Colorado, as well as for the many shipping and transportation vehicles that travel the roadway.

Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, who is also a former CDOT director, said I-25 is a major artery for both Colorado and the country connecting Canada and Mexico through the US. But for all locals, he said the next phase has been completed. of this project means that they can get home to family more quickly or transport goods and products more quickly.

“I always talk about transformation through transportation, and what has happened here is that Colorado has been transformed over the years,” he said. “Now transport is going to transform to catch up.”

“Segment 5 is more than just a road improvement, it is a testament to our collective vision and shared purpose,” said Mead Mayor Colleen Whitlow.

CDOT Director Shoshana Lew thanked everyone who worked on the expansion and said it can be difficult to complete a project that has so many phases and changes and comes with price tags in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It’s no coincidence that we’re here so soon after the last milestone,” she said. “It’s just a tribute to all the project managers on the team who are doing everything they can to keep us all focused on getting this done.”

Paddock said when work begins, two lanes in each direction will remain open, but some lanes will be closed overnight. She also said motorists can expect narrower shoulders on the road on this stretch “in the very near future”.

She asked motorists to pay attention to posted speed limits and be especially careful in cone zones.

“Be patient,” Paddock said. “Please be patient with us during construction, and we thank you for your continued patience and support as we move this important construction project forward.”

More information about the project can be found on CDOT’s website.

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