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CDOT makes safety improvements to Douglas County frontage road after fatal crashes

Douglas County leaders call for more funding, support
CDOT makes safety improvements to Douglas County frontage road after fatal crashes
Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 01, 2023

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Transportation has made safety improvements to a stretch of Interstate 25 frontage road that's considered so dangerous, locals call it "death alley." Still, drivers and county leaders said the changes are not enough.

Contact Denver7 has been shining a light on the dangerous 7-mile stretch , where three people died in accidents in less than six months, including two teenagers.

The community wants answers. More than 600 people were dialed in for a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss plans for safety improvements.

"I'd like to start and say that we don't take this lightly in any way shape or form," said Stephanie Alanis, project manager for CDOT. "What we are doing, and have done, we will continue to evaluate it as a process, and we will continue to always look to make roads safer and better."

CDOT has been making changes to make the frontage road safer, removing thousands of feet of guardrail this week that drivers said left them facing head-on collisions.

"Unfortunately, they're not removing the guardrail in the area where the accidents happened," said Peter Smith, who has been leading a grassroots effort to improve the frontage road. "And they say that is because the roadway here is higher, and they're worried about cars exiting here and going on to I-25. But there are other options to stop that. We are still asking them to remove the guardrail."

Smith and others are also asking for better traffic enforcement.

"I don't know that CDOT is listening," said Douglas County Commissioner George Teal.

Teal says there is a reason no one seems to want to invest in the frontage road. The plan has long been to move the road to the other side of the railroad tracks as part of the $120 million Crystal Valley Interchange Project. But, in part, because of a funding shortfall, the project will take two years to complete and will not begin until the summer.

"The problem is what to do for the next two years," said Teal. "I don't know that CDOT has a substantial solution for us. If they do, they haven't shared. What can we do? I don't know. I need CDOT's help. We're getting zero support from CDOT."

"With CDOT participation and CDOT funding, we could get started, probably, right away. More than anything, we are pursuing grants with the federal government," Teal continued. "Our biggest stumbling block to accessing those funds is a simple letter of support from the executive director of CDOT. And we could fix the problem, not just window dressing."

In a statement to Contact Denver7, a CDOT spokesperson said the department "greatly appreciates the strong partnership" with Douglas County and Castle Rock.

"CDOT greatly appreciates the strong partnership we have with Douglas County and Castle Rock. We have committed extensive staff time and expertise to the Crystal Valley Interchange Project, which is a developer-driven local agency project. We have made significant transportation and safety improvements along I-25 that benefit travelers in these communities for decades to come," the statement read.

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.