Officials Break Ground on Future Central Park Boulevard Interchange at Interstate 70

Interchange to Connect Stapleton Development and Improve Mobility in Area

DENVER, CO ­— September 15, 2010 —  Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau, City Councilman Michael Hancock, Guillermo “Bill” Vidal, Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works, and Cheryl Cohen-Vader President and CEO of the Stapleton Development Corporation gathered to “break ground” on the future Central Park Boulevard Interchange at Interstate 70.

In 2000, the former Stapleton International Airport site began a transformation to become one of the nation’s largest urban mixed-use infill developments. The redevelopment of the 4,700-acre site occurred on both sides of Interstate 70 in east Denver; however a designated road to connect the two sides was not included in the plan. The Central Park Boulevard (CPB) project creates a designated road to make these connections while also providing crucial access to I-70 and I-270; as well as their links across the state.

“Thanks to the foresight of Denver voters, the Better Denver Bond program is reinvesting in our future through critical infrastructure improvements like the Central Park Boulevard Interchange,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “This project will improve quality of life for everyone who travels through, shops and lives in the area for decades to come.”

The CPB Interchange, which will be located between Quebec Street and Havana Street on I-70, will feature two major components. The first component will connect the Stapleton Development on both sides of I-70 with a six lane bridge over I-70. The CPB bridge will be multi-modal friendly and will include twelve foot sidewalks to accommodate all types of movement: vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle.

The second component will connect CPB to Interstates 70 and 270. Due to the nature of the connections, the interchange will consist of a network of “braided” ramps. This type of ramp is necessary along the north and south sides of I-70 to provide access to and from the two interstate highways and will be constructed on land already set aside for the ramps. Therefore, the majority of the construction will have little impact to drivers on I-70 and I-270.

Separate from the CPB interchange project is the design and construction of CPB outside the limits of the interchange, to be constructed by Forest City Enterprises (now Brookfield Properites). Forest City (now Brookfield Properties), who has been the main developer in the Stapleton subdivision, will spend $20 million to extend Central Park Boulevard from 36th Avenue to Northfield Boulevard, approximately 2 miles north.

“The Stapleton community will be well-served by this new interchange,” said Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau. “The project is creating well-paying jobs for area workers, building safe multi-use paths for walkers and cyclists and, by reducing travel distance, giving time back to residents and commuters.”

The CPB Interchange is part of the Better Denver Bond Program approved by Denver voters in 2007, along with funding from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and additional funding sources. Once complete, an average of 17,000 vehicles will use CPB daily and an estimated 46,000 vehicles are anticipated to use the facility daily in 2035.

“One of the most effective economic drivers is a strong transportation system,” Governor Bill Ritter. “That’s why this project is so important. This new interchange will become a key part of the region’s transportation network while also spurring job creation, supporting area businesses and improving the overall quality of life for the thousands of people who live, work and visit this part of the metro area.”

A project of this magnitude requires a true public and private partnership. With the combined efforts of the Federal Highway Administration, Colorado Department of Transportation, City and County of Denver, SEMA Construction and the community, this new interchange will be open to traffic in November, 2011, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Funding Breakdown:
Better Denver Bond Program – $30 million
Federal Stimulus (ARRA) – $12 million
Federal Highway Funds –  $8 million
Total –  $50 million

Pedestrian Improvements:

A twelve foot sidewalk on both sides of Central Park Boulevard Interchange

Well-lit walkways across the Central Park Boulevard bridge

Tightly designed ramp intersections at each end of the bridge to best accommodate pedestrian movements through the intersection areas. The intersection design focused on safety and effectiveness for pedestrians, not just vehicular traffic

Bridge Architecture and Aesthetics:

The new bridge carrying CPB over I-70 will form a gateway for vehicles traveling on I-70 from the east and from Denver International Airport into the City and County of Denver. The bridge will include architectural and aesthetic enhancements:

Bridge monuments and curved site walls to architecturally anchor the structure

A theme of curved arcs and special pedestrian railings on both sides of the bridge

Prominent raised metal lettering strongly identifying the bridge as “Central Park Boulevard”

Strong nighttime lighting elements accenting the bridge monuments, its abutment site walls, and sweeping arc themes

Landscaping that adds character and softens the architecture of Central Park Boulevard in the vicinity of the project

Sustainable landscaping concepts including low maintenance buffalo grasses

“Thanks to a strong partnership of federal, state, local and private sector agencies, this project was able to come to fruition,” said Guillermo “Bill” Vidal, Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works. “Once complete, Central Park Boulevard will not only provide better access to Northfield Stapleton shops, but it will also create the opportunity for additional development in Stapleton, increasing new economic and job opportunities.”

The Better Denver Bond program is a $550 million, voter-approved program that is improving the City’s existing infrastructure and adding critical new infrastructure to support and enhance Denver’s economic vitality and quality of life well into the future. The program reaches roads, bridges, libraries, parks, hospitals, public safety and cultural facilities and other important public amenities.

Photos of the project, provided by Job Site Visitor.