GOVERNOR JARED POLIS
CDOT closed out 2021 with significant progress on the department’s 10-Year Plan as well as two back-to-back years of paving the greatest number of rural road miles in years. Meanwhile, the agency completed a slew of projects — including some major jobs — ahead of schedule and under budget.
These are just some of the highlights included in a report CDOT released today spotlighting its 2021 accomplishments and looking ahead to what is expected to be a blockbuster 2022 year.
Across the state, CDOT is putting new legislative funding to good use as it catches up on road and bridge repairs, adds travel options, relieves traffic choke points in metropolitan areas, makes safety improvements systemwide and brings transit to new corners of the state.
“We have improved driver safety, fixed rural roads, delivered transportation projects on time and under budget and will carry this mission into 2022 to help save Coloradans money, create good jobs and continue growing our economy. Coloradans will continue to see our administration fix roads and bridges, reduce traffic, and provide more options for travelers in areas where people live, work and play in our beautiful state,” said Gov. Jared Polis.
CDOT completed 117 projects in total in 2021, including paving 622 miles of rural roads. Separately, the department put 101 projects out for bid. The department completed 10 projects from its 10-Year Plan in 2021 and put out 19 projects from the plan for bid. Going into the fourth year of CDOT’s current 10-Year Plan, 85.4% of the projects in the first four years of the plan are complete or underway, and 41.4% of the full 10-Year Plan is now complete or in progress.
CDOT worked on seven major transportation projects in 2021, including the expansion of the central portion of Interstate 70 through Denver and the early opening of Express Lanes on the Interstate 25 South Gap Project between Castle Rock and Monument, a project that is part of the 10-Year Plan. In all, CDOT delivered 50 projects ahead of schedule in 2021, or 76% of all projects — representing a 61% increase in early delivery from the year prior. Express Lanes on the I-25 South Gap project opened a full year ahead of schedule. Similarly, CDOT delivered 58 projects under budget.
“We are proud to have developed a 10-Year Plan that reflected the needs of Coloradans across the state. Now we are delivering on that vision,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “For example, because the 10-Year Plan places unprecedented priority on fixing rural roads, many of which hadn’t been touched in decades, we delivered over 600 miles of rural road improvement this year when combining capital projects with our base program, including the hard work of our own maintenance division.
“And we also made major progress on big projects, including opening the I-25 Gap between Colorado Springs and Denver to drivers a year ahead of schedule. Next year’s construction program will be even bigger, as more shovel-ready projects planned over the last few years hit the streets.”
And to help Colorado communities thrive despite the economic challenges of COVID, CDOT expanded its Revitalizing Main Streets program to expand active transportation and improve quality of place in downtowns large and small across the state, including facilitating safe outdoor commerce. In 2021, the department awarded 81 small grants worth about $8.1 million and 16 larger grants worth about $22 million across Colorado for projects such as sidewalk improvements, street enhancements to allow for outdoor dining, outdoor lighting, safer accessibility for all modes of transportation and micromobility support programs like e-bikes.
In 2022, CDOT is projected to spend nearly $1 billion on construction, a significant increase above the already-growing size of the department’s construction program. CDOT’s 10-Year Plan has provided the priority projects that need to get built. The ongoing stability of funding and continued growth that Senate Bill 21-260 provided last year will provide critical support, with many projects funded through up-front funds that were included in the package.
Transformational projects in 2022 will span across the state, ranging from fixing badly decayed bridges on I-70 in the Denver area at 32nd Street and Harlan Street; to improving State Highway 13 in Garfield County with the inclusion of safety features like wider shoulders and a wildlife underpass as well as better drainage; to fixing badly deteriorated stretches of concrete along I-76 in the Eastern Plains, which are among the worst roadway surfaces in the state.
CDOT’s rural resurfacing program will enter its fourth season, once again paving approximately 600 miles of rural highways this year — with about a third of those miles being projects in the 10-Year Plan and the balance including CDOT’s base asset management program as well as the work of our own maintenance professions performing critical repairs. This complements the roughly 580 miles of rural roads that CDOT fixed last year.
CDOT advertised a record amount of work in 2021 but expects to shatter this record by nearly 30% in 2022. With progress well underway and more quickly coming, Coloradans should expect CDOT to continue building the connections we need to keep our state thriving.