(CBS4) – Construction on the I-25 South Gap project is in it’s final year. CDOT anticipates they will complete the project ahead of schedule, by this time next year.

“We have made some great progress,” explained Tamara Rollison with CDOT. “The main reason for these improvement is to save lives.”

The South Gap project stretches 18 miles between Castle Rock and Monument. Construction began in 2018, and CDOT anticipates the entire project will be complete by November of 2022.

(credit: CBS)

The work done to this highly traveled stretch of roadway includes a new express lane in each direction, wider shoulders, wildlife crossings, and a realignment of the road. Rollison said these changes were necessary to keep up with the high volume of traffic seen on this stretch every day.

“We had at least a crash a day on this stretch of highway,” Rollison said. “It certainly served its purpose when it was built many years ago, but over time with the population boom we have at least 87 thousand people or cars who travel this stretch of roadway every day and it was just not built for that volume of traffic.”

Rollison said the project is on budget and tracking ahead of schedule. Right now there are two bridges that need to be completed, deer fencing that needs to go up, along with two final steps.

“That includes the final overlay of payment and installing the tolls for payments, which we’ll get a lot of it done this year,” Rollison said. “We expect to have everything done by this time next year.”

To get updates on the project you can visit: codot.gov/projects/i25-south-gap