Possible changes for U.S. 50 from Pueblo to the Kansas state line will be discussed at 10 public meetings that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has planned for the next month, The Pueblo Chieftain reported.
The department is planning how to improve the 150-mile stretch of highway.
Building on CDOT's community-based vision for U.S. 50, the meetings are part of the tier 1 environmental impact statement process.
The department began holding community meetings in 2003, and is gathering public input as the project moves ahead. In the latest round of meetings, CDOT officials will seek community input on the corridor's potential locations, according to the Chieftain.
Project Manager Mike Perez told the newspaper on Friday that the team has taken comments and suggestions they received from the communities during past meetings into consideration, the newspaper reported.
The department has identified and studied the effects of each of the proposed corridors in an effort to determine how to move forward, Perez said.
"People will see the latest round of alternatives that we have determined as far as new routes or new corridors through the Lower Arkansas Valley--we have really refined what communities have shared with us through previous meetings," Perez said.
The new round of meetings will again give community members a chance to express their concerns and opinions, Perez said.
Perez also said most people who commented at the last round of meetings, held in February 2006, did not want the route altered much, according to the newspaper.
Most Lower Arkansas Valley residents have said they want the highway widened two lanes in each direction for the entire length of the highway, Perez said, adding that the highway now has two lanes between Pueblo and Fowler and in several stretches to the east.
"A lot of people want to see an alternative that goes through the towns. We have showed them what a four-lane highway through town would entail. The impacts are so great that it's almost impossible to do without taking out half of the towns we go through," Perez said.
The meetings will show the impact to all the affected properties if the corridor does run through towns, Perez said.
"That's going to be the biggest eye-opener," Perez said. "We will also look at the farms that would be impacted."
Anyone may attend the meetings, which will be held in an open-house format in 10 communities along the corridor from Holly to Pueblo, the newspaper reported.
"This is where we really start rolling up our sleeves and getting to work," Perez said.
The CDOT meetings are scheduled for:
- Aug. 13: Granada town hall, 105 S. Main St., 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;
- Aug. 13: Holly Senior and Community Center, 129 S Main St., 5 to 8 p.m.;
- Aug. 14: Swink School, 610 Columbia, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;
- Aug. 14: Las Animas Community Center gym, 1724 Ambassador Thompson Blvd., 5 to 8 p.m.;
- Aug. 20: Lamar Community Center, 610 S. Sixth St., 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;
- Aug. 20: La Junta, Otero Junior College student center, 2001 San Juan Ave., 5 to 8 p.m.;
- Aug. 21: Manzanola High School library, 301 S. Catalpa, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;
- Aug. 21: Rocky Ford, Jefferson Middle School cafeteria, 901 S. 11th St., 5 to 8 p.m.;
- Aug. 22: Pueblo, Southeastern Colorado Heritage Center, 201 W. B St., 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and
- Aug. 22: Fowler Elementary School, 601 W. Grant Ave., 5 to 8 p.m.