The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) was able to complete a bridge reconstruction project over busy I-225 in Aurora nearly two months ahead of schedule, much to the relief of local drivers.
CDOT closed the Yale Avenue bridge in May in order to accommodate an extension of the I-225 FasTracks commuter rail project, which is expected to run through Aurora and a portion of Denver. The entire $43 million project also called for the highway to be widened. The scope of the project had CDOT officials planning for a six-month closure with a planned opening in early December.
CDOT worked closely with its contractor, SEMA Construction Co., to accelerate the project schedule, hoping to cause as little inconvenience to drivers as possible. CDOT offered SEMA a financial incentive of $3,750 each day the bridge was open early, with a maximum of $150,000 for opening 40 or more days early. CDOT also had a partner in the city of Aurora, which agreed to a complete closure of the bridge, making it easier for CDOT and SEMA to adopt an accelerated work schedule. Also working in CDOT's favor was the exceptional weather, which CDOT and SEMA took full advantage of.
Due to the hard work and determination of CDOT and its contractor, the bridge opened earlier this month, roughly two full months ahead of schedule, allowing commuters to once again resume their normal routes.
"This is a tremendous milestone for the I-225 widening project, which will greatly benefit the residents and businesses in the area," said CDOT Chief Engineer Tim Harris in a statement. "Any time we can wrap up construction ahead of schedule is a win for everyone."
With the bridge complete, CDOT will now work on the widening of portions of northbound and southbound I-225, as well as completing a new light-rail bridge over the interstate. CDOT expects the entire I-225 FasTracks commuter rail project will be complete by the end of July 2014.