Debate continues over Central 70 expansion project

Town hall being hosted by city leaders
Posted at 7:02 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 12:20:40-05

DENVER, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to expand Interstate 70.

Construction along I-70 could begin as soon as early next year and continue for four to five years to follow.

It’s dubbed the Central 70 project. It will expand the interstate to ten lanes and will put those lanes underground.

An infrastructure project of this size and scope doesn’t come without some major issues. Transportation officials said the Central 70 project will require displacing people from 56 residential properties and 17 businesses. Those people will receive relocation assistance and other help under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Uniform Act.

The Central 70 project also includes a focus on providing work for local residents. Transportation officials aim to require filling 20 percent of construction jobs on the project with people who live in surrounding neighborhoods.

A representative with CDOT says the expansion is the best chance to accommodate the metro area’s growing population within state funding constraints.

Several other groups argue the project will affect their quality of life. In 2016, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging air quality standards.

Another lawsuit was filed by several northeast Denver community members. They claimed the Central 70 project is discriminatory because their neighborhood is 84 percent Latino.

Many argued the heightened traffic would impact their quality of life and health.

A presentation Tuesday night at the Denver Bookbinding Company will include a project presentation and question and answer period. Denver City Councilman Rafael Espinoza and former Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher will co-host the community town hall at 6 p.m. at 1401 W 47th Ave.


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