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The Peña project: DIA studying how to alleviate traffic in the coming years on Peña Boulevard

Officials hope plan will be completed this year; construction could start by 2027
The Pena project: DIA studying how to alleviate traffic in the coming years on Pena Blvd
Posted at 5:33 AM, Mar 01, 2023

DENVER — Denver International Airport (DIA) is studying how to improve Peña Boulevard in the coming years, which is the only way to get to and from the third busiest airport in the world. During the development of the Peña Boulevard Transportation and Mobility Master Plan are open houses this year, where the public can discuss what they would like to see done to the corridor.

One of those open houses was on Tuesday, February 28, where attendees learned more about the massive study.

“Peña Boulevard is actually owned and operated by Denver International Airport," said Lisa Nguyen, the Principal Airport Transportation Planner at the airport. “We have about 138,000 vehicles per day that use Peña Boulevard... Peña Boulevard serves much more than just Denver International Airport. There's a lot of neighborhoods, and in addition, freight and cargo and e-commerce."

As both the airport and its surrounding communities continue to grow, those with DIA recognize that Peña Boulevard needs to keep up with the growth. Nguyen said DIA is anticipating serving 100 million passengers within the next eight to ten years, which is an increase of about 30 million people.

“How do multimodal connections play into that? How do our employees get to and from work? How do we incentivize more people to take the buses, the trains? Is there a way that we can incentivize folks to carpool or vanpool?" asked Nguyen.

Part of the study will examine transportation demand modeling, which has a few different alternatives. Those include adding a lane, adding a managed lane, and looking at what would happen if nothing is done.

“This is the first step of a long path ahead. So this is the planning study. The next stage would be our design and environmental. Because of the scale of this project and the scope, it will have to go towards the Environmental Protection Agency, it will need to be looked at at a federal level. And then eventually we'll move into design and then eventually go into construction... Loosely, if we were able to start construction, that would be after 2027.”

The budget for the master plan study is $1.2 million.

“That 1.2 million, a major majority of that is airport dollars. However... the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is funding $100,000 of the study," Nguyen explained.

In addition to the traffic and congestion, Nguyen said the airport is examining how the infrastructure impacts the community.

“Both Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, the neighborhoods that straddle Peña Boulevard, they are historically disadvantaged communities. These are communities that sometimes feel the most pain from our infrastructure improvements. So looking at from this equity lens, how do folks get to and from jobs to schools? That is absolutely going to be critical," said Nguyen.

Nguyen said they will be hosting future public houses in the summer and fall of this year. To learn more about the project, click here.

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