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Initial $70M secured to begin efforts to add BRT, other improvements to Diagonal Highway

The total cost to fully implement the BRT system and lane improvements is projected to be $253.3 million as pieces of funding come available, said Kathleen Bracke, mobility director for Boulder County. “All the work we are doing today is to get the project ready,” Bracke said.
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Traffic is seen on Colo. 119 at Hover Street in Longmont on July 28. (Photo by Shona Crampton)

A combined $70 million is headed toward upgrades of the Diagonal Highway between Longmont and Boulder that will lay the groundwork for enhanced bus service along the busy corridor, transportation officials say.

Adnana Murtic, project manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation, during a virtual meeting of Commuting Solutions on Tuesday said the funding will produce safety and mobility improvements along Colo. 119, also known as the Diagonal, and the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit service.

Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, and the use of express lanes is seen as the solution to projected traffic demands on the Diagonal, where 45,000 vehicles travel a day along the corridor, according to Commuting Solutions, a Louisville-based organization that promotes alternative travel options for Boulder County residents. Traffic along the highway is projected to grow 25% by 2040, according to Commuting Solutions. 

BRT and managed lanes will provide the greatest travel time savings, transit service reliability, higher transit ridership and more travel opinions — including dedicated bicycle lanes, Commuting Solutions states.

The total cost to fully implement the BRT system and lane improvements is projected to be $253.3 million as pieces of funding come available, said Kathleen Bracke, mobility director for Boulder County.

“All the work we are doing today is to get the project ready,” Bracke said during Tuesday’s meeting. 

Chris Quinn, planning project manager for the Regional Transportation District, said, “We are hoping that as money starts trickling in we can start building” the corridor improvements. No construction date has been set.

Murtic said the breakdown of the $70 million in initial funding includes: 

  • $30 million from CDOT for roadway improvements,
  • $10 million from CDOT for BRT infrastructure,
  • $30 million from RTD for BRT stations, shelters, buses, platforms and other amenities.

A separate traffic analysis study also is ongoing and will determine the best options for Colo. 119 at Colo. 52, as well as the “operational efficiency for the whole corridor,” Murtic said in an email. The results of the Colo. 119 and Colo. 52 study is expected in April, while results of a study of the whole corridor are expected in late summer, Murtic said.

Once those studies are complete, planners will use the recommendations they contain to begin preliminary designs for the overhaul of the corridor, she said.

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