Some North Denver Residents Want New I-70 Plan

DENVER (CBS4) – Homeowners are giving the Colorado Department of Transportation an earful because they don’t like a proposal to widen a busy stretch of Interstate 70 through North Denver and bury part of it underground.

CDOT is considering burying the interstate beneath Brighton Boulevard nearly all the way to Colorado Boulevard.

Residents from three North Denver neighborhoods held a meeting Wednesday evening. It was organized by those who want to see the I-70 project modified so it would have less impact on one neighborhood with established businesses and long-time residents.

“My daughter was born here in this house,” Frida Gallegos said.

Gallegos loves her front porch and is unsure about the changes coming.

“They’re going to do it anyway, so we really don’t have (a) say so,” Gallegos said.

But some in the area say the community should have a say. Right now the plan calls for expanding and burying I-70 in the Swansea neighborhood and putting a park over part of it. But the group is proposing a new plan to divert traffic to I-270, which would help preserve the neighborhood.

“It would go from I-70 and Central Park on the east side through I-70 and meeting I-76 around I-25; and then ending back on I-70 at around Wadsworth Boulevard,” a resident said.

CDOT says that idea would be too costly.

“That’s an option for a variety of reasons that we have said is not feasible, whether it be cost, whether it be some of the impacts within the community,” a CDOT official said.

Still, it’s an option that would preserve businesses like the Colonial Manor Motel and a long-time family market.

“I stay for 15 years and I want more,” Jesus Vasquez said.

Vasquez isn’t sure how he’ll support his family if CDOT needs to tear down his business.

“I don’t know, maybe looking for job, I don’t know,” he said.

CDOT says something has to be done to the old, crumbling bridge. But with ongoing debate and requests for even more studies, CDOT isn’t certain when the project will actually get underway.

CDOT has been studying the area for 10 years. The hope is to break ground in 2016.

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