A section of Highway 85 near Louviers is on its way to being widened after the Douglas County Board of Commissioners agreed to contribute $2.5 million to the project in a Jan. 14 meeting. …
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A section of Highway 85 near Louviers is on its way to being widened after the Douglas County Board of Commissioners agreed to contribute $2.5 million to the project in a Jan. 14 meeting.
Construction on the nearly 3-mile section, which runs from Louviers to just north of Sedalia, is slated to begin in April and last about two years, said Art Griffith, the county's manager for transportation capital projects.
This is the first road improvement that has been made possible through the passage of ballot item 1A, which reallocated a portion of sales tax to transportation.
“I'm just very grateful that our citizens passed 1A and that we now have the additional funds,” Commissioner Lora Thomas said. “I am very excited.”
It has been about 18 years since the state's whole project was approved, which includes reconstruction and widening of the highway from C-470 to Castle Rock.
“We've been cobbling the funds together over the last 20 year to improve 85,” Griffith said.
This part of the project will cost more than $40 million, with Douglas County having contributed a total of about $8 million.
“It highlights why transportation dollars are so precious and so necessary and needed but hard to come by,” Thomas said. “Road construction is expensive.”
This section of the state highway currently has two lanes and no shoulder. The new project will completely reconstruct and pave the road and widen it to have four lanes, a large median and 10-feet-wide shoulders, Griffith said.
“If you live in Denver and Aurora, they've got a really good grid system. But in Douglas County, just the way we matured … we don't have a grid, we rely on the state highway system,” Griffith said. “That's why we invest in these corridors when CDOT has less money.”
This portion of the road has been known to have significant traffic congestion and can be dangerous where it narrows from two lanes in each direction to one, Griffith said.
“That's where some serious accidents have occurred,” he said.
The next section to be improved will be from Sedalia to Castle Rock, he said.
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