IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Underneath an Interstate 70 bridge, Gov. Jared Polis picked one of the state’s top priority projects as the location for a bill signing. Residents of Clear Creek County know how important improvements to the stretch of the interstate between Floyd Hill and Idaho Springs will be.

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“We have now passed a bill I will now sign that will finally fix the damn roads in Colorado,” Polis said Thursday morning.

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“I’m excited for this bill,” said Clear Creek County Commissioner George Marlin. “If you live on Floyd hill, you are literally trapped every weekend. And we’ve been lucky we haven’t had an emergency where people need to get out of there while all that traffic is there.”

The traffic backup from the bottleneck around Floyd Hill can turn the interstate into a parking lot on weekends in the winter and summer. Polis said Requests for Proposal will soon go out to fix the situation. Plans call for keeping three lanes of traffic eastbound and widening the interstate down the hill, then a major restructuring of the interstate around the intersection with Highway 6. One plan could include a new tunnel for westbound traffic. More widening could occur between the exit for the Central City Parkway and the Veterans Memorial Tunnels.

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“It’s a dangerous stretch of road. Floyd Hill is steeper with sharper corners than the state really wants to have in modern road design,” Marlin said.

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The fix isn’t just needed to ease congestion, Marlin says residents deal with noise and air quality issues.

“It’s not fun living next to this much congestion,” he said. “We thrive on visitors, but their cars are a problem. We don’t have enough space for everybody to come here in their own car.”

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Residents in the middle of the county have dealt with nearly a decade of construction from tunnel expansion to the building of peak-period shoulder lanes. The hope is a fix around Floyd Hill will finally clear up the traffic problems.

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“I welcome $5 billion into our transportation system that will help us be able to solve these problems in a faster way that is less impact on our communities,” Marlin said.

Jeff Todd