If you have driven I-70 east of I-25 through Denver anytime recently, then you know how obvious it is that the road needs to be fixed and widened. Luckily, the city has a 2 billion dollar plan to redo I-70 in the near future. Unfortunately, it might not be as great as we all hope it would be.
The current plan for redoing I-70 in Denver calls for the highway to be widened to 24 lanes from I-25 east. While this would be great and make commuting so much easier, it also creates a load of concerns for Denver residents living in North Denver especially.
First, the plan only calls for widening the highway east of I-25 and west of Wadsworth. That would leave the highway as is from I-25 to Wads. I'm not a traffic engineer, but I can only begin to imagine the disaster that would occur with motorist trying to merge from 24 lanes to 6 lanes through the Highlands. The city says they won't expand that stretch, but it is pretty obvious that will need to be expanded in time and I question what that means for Rocky Mountain Lake, Berkeley Lake, Willis Case Golf Course, Cenntenial Elementary and lots of my friends who live within a block of I-70 right now.
Second, for the east side of Denver this will be a disaster for neighborhoods like Globeville, Swansea and Elyria. The playground for Swansea elementary would be turned into a highway and this is just the beginning of implications for an already depressed part of town.
A group of very intelligent people including former professors and doctors who have worked with this type of city planning all their lives has gotten together to form Unite North Metro Denver. This group proposes an alternative to the current plan in place. With their plan, I-70 would be rerouted from the heart of Denver to the current I-76 and I-270 corridor.
The advantages of this proposal is that the city already owns most of the land required to build a highway that could accommodate the future needs of I-70 without having to destroy elementary play grounds to do so. This plan would only add 1.8 miles across town and without having to deal with the mouse trap and all the busy exists in central Denver, would likely be a much quicker drive time and use less gas. By developing this new highway, land value around the I-76/I-270 corridor would change from mostly industrial to mixed commercial creating jobs and much greater revenue for the city.
With I-70 routed north, the current I-70 would then be turned into a parkway much like Martin Luther King Boulevard. Can you imagine how removing the highway would unite all of the Highlands and North East Denver? Property values in these areas would skyrocket and the benefits to North Denver would continue for years to come.
To learn more about this project and how you can take action, click here. I was amazed by putting my email address in how quickly I heard back from city officials and was happy to see how many are behind looking into this alternative route for I-70. Time is running out though so please take a minute to act before our city is changed forever.