Colorado Gov. Bill Owens last week picked up the last traffic cone of the five-year, $1.7 billion I-25 widening project, known as TREX, opening the final ramps to traffic.
"This is what we need for the future," Owens said at a ceremony held on an on-ramp to I-25. The governor, who signed the legislation to initiate the country's largest design-build project in 1999, will be leaving office at the end of this year. Colorado media have saluted the project as one of the major accomplishments of the governor and Colorado Department of Transportation Director Tom Norton.
The project adds 19 miles of light rail, slated to open in November, and has improved and widened 17 miles of Interstate, including the complete rebuild of I-25. Once rated as the 14th worst intersection in the country, the intersection of I-25 and I-225 has been upgraded through a flyover and a series of tunnels. The project included replacement of aged bridges and the installation of six pedestrian bridges and two tunnels to promote access to businesses on both sides of the freeway.
In addition, the project has included a number of operational improvements including electronic message boards, ramp metering, additional traffic cameras and technology to detect congestion and monitor traffic speeds. Project spokesmen indicate that the project was originally not expected to be completed until 2008, but has now been wrapped up well ahead of that schedule.