The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD), in partnership with local governments along the corridor, has begun construction of the US$312 million multi-modal project along US 36. The project will reconstruct and widen 16km (10 miles) of US 36 to accommodate one combined High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or tolled Express Lane in each direction. The new lane will provide for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which will use the improved infrastructure to provide faster, more reliable services, as well as other improvements along the corridor, ultimately to provide additional options for commuters. The highway currently carries between 80,000 and 124,000 vehicles a day.
In addition to the Express Lane that will accommodate HOVs, BRT and tolled Single Occupancy Vehicles, the project will replace several bridges, build a commuter bikeway and add BRT improvements. The toll collection will be electronic or by license plate tolling if a transponder is not used. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) for tolling, transit, traveler information, and incident management will also be installed to help alert motorists of lane closures due to accidents or construction, so that they can make informed travel decisions. The ITS will include the installation of an Active Traffic Management System (ATMS) on the highway, which will display relevant traveler notices, such as travel speed, lane closures, accidents and travel times, via overhead variable message signs (VMS).
The project will see the implementation of the first ‘bus-on-shoulder’ program in the state, which allows buses to drive on the right shoulder of the highway 36 if the speed of the general purpose lanes slows below 56km/h (35mph). It also includes the first buffer-separated Express Lane in Colorado, where the toll/HOV lane is separated from the general traffic lanes by a 1.2m (4ft) striped buffer, rather than a solid barrier. Don Hunt, CDOT executive director, said, “The innovations being employed on this project are a first for Colorado. We are excited about the future of the US 36 corridor and what these improvements will mean for those who live and work along the highway, as well as for the occasional travelers. More transportation options mean less time sitting in traffic.” The Ames Granite Joint Venture team is the design-build contractor for the project, which will open to the public in January 2015.
1 August 2012
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