Feds dole out $109 million loan for C-470 expansion in south metro Denver

Feds dole out $109 million loan for C-470 expansion in south metro Denver

Feds dole out $109 million loan for C-470 expansion in south metro Denver

The money will be used to help build new Express Lanes between Interstate 25 and Wadsworth Boulevard

C-470

Denver Post file Cars drive along C-470 on December 10, 2015, in Highlands Ranch.

By MARK K. MATTHEWS | [email protected] | The Denver Post


WASHINGTON — Funding for new toll lanes on C-470 south of Denver will get $109 million in federal loans under an agreement announced Monday by Colorado officials.

The money will help cover the cost of the $276 million project, which will add several express lanes to a 12.5-mile stretch of C-470 between Interstate 25 and Wadsworth Boulevard.

Construction of the C-470 expansion began last fall, and state and federal officials expect the work to be finished by spring 2019 thanks in part to the loan.

“The C-470 Express Lanes project is part of CDOT’s vision to improve mobility and reduce congestion in this critical corridor,” said Shailen Bhatt, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, in a statement.

The news was cheered by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet of Colorado, who both said they played a role in ensuring the money would be available to the state.

Two years ago, as Congress was debating a new transportation bill, there were proposals to slash funding for a federal program known as the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA — the pool of money in which the C-470 project is getting its loan.

While the final version of the bill ultimately shrank the TIFIA program, aides to the two lawmakers said the reductions could have been worse and that enough remained of it to keep alive plans for the C-470 expansion.

“When considering the highway bill two years ago, I made clear that I would not support the legislation until the changes I was fighting for were made to protect TIFIA, a program our state depends on for several significant infrastructure projects — including C-470 Express Lanes,” said Gardner in a statement.

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Added Bennet: “In 2015, Sen. Gardner and I worked together to ensure that proposed changes that would damage the TIFIA loan program did not become law.”

The C-470 project calls for two additional westbound express lanes from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, and another from Colorado Boulevard to Wadsworth Boulevard, according to a state outline of the project.

A single eastbound express lane will be added between I-25 and Wadsworth Boulevard.

In addition to the federal contribution, the project is being funded by the state and $10 million from Douglas County as well as loans that will be repaid by toll revenues, according to state officials.