Protestors try building support to stop I-70 expansion
June 18, 2017, by Tammy Vigil
Fox/Channel 2 News Jun 18, 2017
DENVER — We’ve been talking about expanding I-70 through the metro for nearly 15 years. And still, opposition to it stands strong–literally.
Dozens of folks came out to continue fighting the I-70 Expansion project they say is too expensive and won’t do much to reduce traffic congestion on Sunday.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) built the section of I-70 in the 1960’s. And now, CDOT will rebuild what’s considered the worst-rated bridge starting early next year.
That is, unless, a group with their “Ditch the Ditch” signs, can halt the highway.
“We’d like to see some better solutions,” says a protestor with a megaphone outside of City Park Golf Course.
“It’s the most expensive project in the state of Colorado. It’s not going to solve the problems. It’s a taxpayer-financed toll road,” says Brad Evans, whose a critic of the highway project.
The $2 billion I-70 East expansion project replaces the decades-old viaduct with a lowered-highway between Brighton and Colorado boulevards, with a toll lane added in each direction.
The highway would then be capped with four-acres of parkland on top.
“In the process, there will be a drainage ditch put in here on the west side of the park,” says LaMone Noles, President of City Park Friends and Neighbors.
She joins those opposed to the I-70 project with those behind the push to “Save City Park Golf Course.”
“My biggest concern is the ditch is in violation of the city charter which protects public parks in the city and county of Denver,” says Noles.
The I-70 expansion will use part of city park golf course for storm water detention, to help protect the lowered part of the new highway.
“We do not want the park, the golf course, destroyed. They are going to lose over 200 trees. Theyâ€™re gonna get cut down,” says Noles.
And they say neighbors will have to deal with five years of construction and resulting traffic and environmental pollution.
It is a massive project, moving massive amounts of people, that some say is just a destination to wasted taxpayer money.
“Is this the best use of our public money?” questions Evans.
And to that CDOT says â€˜yes.â€™
It has studied this project for 14 years, including hundreds of community meetings.
It will start work on the project in about six months.
CDOT says it â€œwill remove a crumbling viaduct, reduce congestion and reconnect communities. CDOT is excited and ready to deliver these improvements to one of Colorado’s most critical interstates,â€ says spokesperson Rebecca White.