May 29, 2011 4:16 PM by Andy Koen

Holiday slow down highlights need for interchange improvement

Travelers headed to the high country via Highway 24 this weekend no doubt met with some company. On average, around 25,000 vehicles take the Cimarron Street exit along Interstate 25 in Colorado Springs each day. On busy weekends, that number goes even higher.

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments lists the intersection as one of its top 3 road construction priorities along with widening I-25 into Douglas County and improving the Peterson interchange. El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark is the chair of PPACG board of directors and says the biggest hurdle for any road construction project right now is money.

"Transportation funding has taken a considerable hit in the last few years and we're probably not going to see a lot of money," Clark said. "But if you don't get the project planned and cleared and all of the right of way purchased, you can't move forward until you've done one before the other."

With environmental assessments already in place, the PPACG recently authorized $4.2 million for C-DOT to purchase the remaining right-of-ways necessary to move forward. The project's $94 million price tag could slow efforts to begin construction.

However, Clark expects the interchange to be a top candidate for funding from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and says the local contribution could motivate state transportation planners to commit money to the project.


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