Denver’s Olympic and Paralympic Exploratory Committee not too long ago introduced its advice that Colorado ought to pursue internet hosting a future Winter Video games. This has generated an incredible quantity of curiosity and dialogue.
One of many points that constantly comes up is I-70. Can an already congested freeway deal with the extra visitors a Winter Video games would generate between Denver and our mountain communities? May internet hosting the Olympics grease the wheels for options to our congestion issues on I-70?
What will get misplaced in all of the dialogue — and what’s essential for Coloradans to know — is that there’s an current plan for the I-70 Mountain Hall. And no matter whether or not Colorado ever hosts a future Olympic Video games, we should proceed to maneuver ahead with this plan, as a result of it’s the reply to the irritating circumstances we expertise on the interstate.
This plan was issued by the Federal Freeway Administration (FHWA) and the Colorado Division of Transportation (CDOT) in June 2011. A product of years-long debate amongst a various group of stakeholders stretching from Denver to the Western Slope, it requires each enlargement of the interstate and high-speed mass transit. In depth technical evaluation concluded that such a multi-modal method was the one strategy to meet the hall’s capability wants by means of the yr 2050.
Some progress has been made in implementing this plan. For instance, the Veterans Memorial Tunnels have been expanded, and the eastbound Mountain Categorical Lane has been constructed. Different freeway enhancements are deliberate, together with a westbound Mountain Categorical Lane, lane widening and redesign at Floyd Hill.
These fixes alone should not sufficient, nonetheless. Because the evaluation decided, freeway enhancements should be accomplished along with high-speed transit. One with out the opposite is not going to clear up the issue; each are wanted to satisfy the long-term wants of this important hall.
And that is the place extra must be executed. There’s a long-held notion that high-speed transit is a few far-off, prohibitively costly fantasy. Not essentially so.
Below CDOT’s management, Colorado has change into floor zero for a revolution in transportation expertise. The non-public sector is in a race to construct new transit applied sciences in our state which might be anticipated to be operational in simply two to 3 years. Public-private partnership fashions can cut back prices, and these corporations are additionally exploring methods their techniques pays for themselves, whether or not by means of fares or different means.
This can be a sport changer.
These applied sciences can work within the mountain hall. They’re environment friendly, protected and weatherproof. They would offer a everlasting and long-standing answer to congestion within the hall and would showcase Colorado to the world as a pacesetter in sustainable transportation. Furthermore, they’d assist deal with the congestion brought on by vacationer visitors that a lot of our mountain communities are experiencing whereas nonetheless guaranteeing vacationers can get to these communities.
The earliest we might host an Olympic Video games is 2030. We are able to and will make a number of progress on the I-70 plan within the interim. No matter whether or not Denver secures a future Olympics, Colorado should proceed to maneuver ahead with the implementation of the plan for I-70.
Dan Gibbs is a Summit County Commissioner and serves as chair of the I-70 Coalition. Jill Ryan is an Eagle County Commissioner and serves as vice chair of the I-70 Coalition.