AURORA | By February 2013, motorists will be able to drive directly into the Anschutz Medical Campus without ever having their tires touch Colfax Avenue.
The 17th Place and Interstate 225 construction project that will allow that to happen is currently in the final stages of development. When it’s done, it will be more convenient for employees, students and patients to get to the campus, said officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“We’re trying to alleviate as much traffic on Colfax as we can,” said George Warda, CDOT project engineer. “At the present time, Colfax is at or near its capacity. If you ever drive during rush hour to get to the Anschutz Campus, that northbound (I-225) off-ramp on Colfax gets backed up.”
Next year, motorists will be able to bypass the Colfax chaos, he said.
“This will be more of a direct shot to get into the Anschutz campus,” he said.
The project, which commenced in August 2011, costs more than $25 million and is being funded by the city of Aurora, CDOT and grant money. It’s between 60 and 65 percent complete, Warda said.
Centennial-based SEMA construction is responsible for building the interchange, and CDOT is managing the project.
“SEMA is making good progress and we’re looking forward to the opening of the interchange,” said Kevin Wegener, an engineer for the city of Aurora.
The construction firm is currently working on the final third and fourth phases of the project, including widening the west side of Colfax Avenue, opening 17th Place, and constructing a new northbound slip ramp that will take motorists off the highway, across a bridge, west into Fitzsimons Parkway, and straight into the campus.
Warda said drivers are currently frustrated because there are only two lanes on I-225 from Smith Road to the Colfax Avenue on-ramp because of construction efforts. He hopes to have the third lane open by late October, so there will be three lanes on I-225 from Interstate 70 to the Mississippi Avenue exit, where the Regional Transportation District is currently working on a FasTracks project.
Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or [email protected]