Most of us know basically the entire US 36 Corridor is a major pain to drive—especially during rush hour. The addition of HOV/HOT lanes from Downtown to Federal Blvd. has helped make access from US 36 into Downtown a little easier for commuters, but accessing most communities and destinations along the corridor has proven to be frustrating to say the least. With the finalization of a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan and kick-off of a $306 million expansion project, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) can move forward with extending the HOV/HOT lanes and other highway improvements along the corridor.

The $54 million TIFIA loan finalized on September 1 carries a 3.58 percent interest rate and must be repaid by 2049. The TIFIA program provides financial assistance to transportation projects (highway, rail, transit, etc.) of national or regional significance. This Federal program was created to fill market gaps in these large projects while leveraging co-investments. The remaining $252 million of the project comes from CDOT, RTD, the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE), the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG).

The US 36 Corridor is important to the FasTracks program, as it will be where RTD institutes its first foray into Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The expanded HOV/HOT lanes will be instrumental in helping implement this new service from RTD. For more information, check out the video below:

The first phase starting early next year includes:

  • Reconstructing pavement on US 36 and widening the highway to include a 12-foot shoulder;
  • Adding a barrier-separated managed lane in both directions between Pecos and the Interlocken Loop;
  • Reconstructing the Wadsworth Parkway, Wadsworth Boulevard, and Lowell Boulevard bridges over US 36;
  • Adding Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) improvements;
  • Installing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) similar to what is found along I-25 today; and
  • Installing a commuter bikeway.
The project is expected to be complete in mid-2015. CDOT and the HPTE continues to investigate funding options for the remainder of US 36 from Interlocken to the Table Mesa interchange in Boulder. For more information on this project, check out US 36 Commuting Solutions and the coverage from 9News.