Bob from Westminster writes, “What's driving you crazy? The eastbound Boulder Turnpike has two signs for the Sheridan exit, both indicating south. Most newbie northbound Sheridan drivers will naturally go by these expecting their exit under the overpass, but not the case. Northbound is actually accessed by the south exit. I expect it has to do with CO-95. Ever hear anyone refer to Sheridan as "route 95"?? This is so counterintuitive and beyond frustrating!”
I think drivers would be surprised how many of these little sections of local roads double as state highways.
Sheridan Boulevard, as most know it, doubles as Colorado State Highway (SH) 95 that runs between US 285 (Hampden Avenue) in Denver on the south end to US 36 in Westminster on the north end. The problem, as you described it, is the signage along Highway 36 indicates the exit to Sheridan doubles as CO 95 but doesn’t specify that the word south on the sign doesn’t mean you can’t turn north on Sheridan Boulevard. The issue with the sign is that SH 95 only runs south of US 36, not north of US 36. The same problem exists on the signs from westbound US 36 exiting Sheridan/SH 95.
But these signs, Bob, are about to be changed thanks to a change in ownership of SH 95. A very small portion, about a half mile of SH 95 has been relinquished by CDOT and handed over to the City of Westminster. One senior engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation told me they determined that abandoning this portion of SH 95 to the City of Westminster would be, “In the best interest of Colorado taxpayers.”
The specific section of roadway relinquished by CDOT includes Sheridan Boulevard between 88th Avenue to the north side of the US 36 bridge but does not include the bridge itself. As part of the relinquishment, CDOT agreed to continue to provide maintenance of the structural elements of the US 36 overpass bridge and Westminster would be responsible for the roadway and architectural enhancements of the overpass.
According to the City of Westminster, city staff had a difference of opinion with CDOT about the priority level of maintenance, especially snow removal on this section of roadway:
“CDOT views this portion of the roadway as a low priority for maintenance operations. Conversely, Staff views this same portion as a high priority due to its proximity to many business establishments and the Sheridan Station park-n-ride.”
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Before CDOT could relinquish ownership, the City of Westminster had to agree to the state’s abandonment of this portion of SH 95 and agree to assume ownership of the former highway segment in an “as is” condition.
Back in 2019, Westminster staff met with CDOT staff to discuss several items of mutual interest including the Sheridan Multimodal Transportation Improvement project and, in the opinion of the city, the substandard quality of maintenance that CDOT provides to this busy and important section of Sheridan Boulevard. Westminster noted that the annual maintenance cost for this relinquished portion of the former state highway is estimated to be approximately $65,000, money the city has already been spending over the past 15 years for snowplowing, roadway maintenance and traffic signal operations. Responsibilities the city believes CDOT was not providing in the way the city would have liked.
Title 23 Code of Federal Regulation 620.203 allows any state DOT to relinquishportions of a State Highway to other governmental agencies for continued highway use. Additionally Colorado Revised Statute 43-2-106 provides for the Colorado Transportation Commission may determine that a state highway, or portion thereof, no longer functions as a state highway and can be abandoned to the affected county or municipality. In addition to Sheridan Boulevard, CDOT also relinquished ownership of two remnant parcels in downtown Westminster. These parcels encompass the downtown Westminster stormwater detention facility and a portion of the future East Park.
The City of Westminster recorded the final Quit Claim Deed with Jefferson County and officially took ownership of the road and remnant parcels Jan. 25, 2023. What happens next is Westminster will continue with their current maintenance activities of Sheridan Blvd between 88th Avenue and 120th Avenue. CDOT will still maintain Sheridan Boulevard (SH 95) south of 88th to US 285. CDOT will also modify the signage over US 36 to remove the CO 95 south messages. They will do this using adhesive sheeting masking, basically large stickers that will cover part of the existing sign.
CDOT tells me it will cost them about $4,000 for all labor, equipment, and materials to make that sign change. As for when it will be complete, timing depends on weather as the same work crew that will modify the sign is right now assigned to winter plowing on the I-70 mountain corridor. They anticipate the signage work will be done by this spring.
Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify or Podbean.