Dec 26, 2013 5:46 PM by Andy Koen
EL PASO COUNTY - Holiday travelers should enjoy a little more elbow room while heading north on Interstate 25 out of Colorado Springs this weekend.
The contractor for the $66 million I-25 Expansion Project expects to open a third northbound lane between North Gate Boulevard and Monument by Saturday morning.
Kewitt Construction spokesman Barry Grossman said they had hoped to have the extra lanes open for both directions of the interstate for the full 11 miles between Woodmen Road and Colorado Highway 105 by New Years Eve.
However, late spring snow storms, evacuations during the Black Forest Fire and the August and September floods all slowed down the work. Southbound I-25 currently widens at the North Gate intersection.
"Overall the project lost I believe more than 50 days, and when you're talking two shifts a day, that's a lot of work," Grossman said.
New asphalt can't be laid until the temperatures warm up. Grossman expects that phase of the project to start in mid-May and take place in the overnight hours to minimize traffic impacts.
He also said the bumpy spots where the new and old lanes meet should become smoother in coming weeks.
"We are making an effort to get out there and do some grinding to smooth that out," Grossman said.
New lights, signs and guard rails all still need to be installed. So, Grossman wants drivers to pay close attention to the speed limits.
"There will still be crews vulnerable and drivers need to be aware of that," he said.
The on and off ramps at Baptist Road and North Gate Boulevard will be closed between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. tonight and on Friday to prepare for the new lane alignment.
Some 100,000 vehicles a day drive between corridor, and that number is expected to reach 145,000 by the year 2025.