If you have driven from Denver to Colorado Springs or vice versa, then you are very aware of the construction project known as “The Gap”. This project launched in September of 2018 with a $350 million budget, in the hopes of creating a more safe and efficient passage through southern Castlerock and Monument.
What will the Gap Project do?
“The Gap” construction includes widening shoulders, adding an express lane, improving infrastructure, and adding advanced technology to this section of I-25, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
With the addition of an express lane, drivers will have the option to take a more efficient route by paying a toll fee, or they may use the other two lanes which we are familiar with. Along with the expanded shoulders and express lane, CDOT is adding fencing and more crossings for wildlife to help keep drivers and animals safer.
Is construction causing more accidents in this section of I-25?
At the beginning of 2020 it had been reported that there was an increase of at least 60% more accidents in the area since construction started (2018-2019). Colorado State Patrol noted that some of the main factors were the narrowing of lanes and the absence of shoulders. The two most detrimental factors in the rise of crashes seemed to be speeding and/or the distraction of smart phones.
In the last year of accident reporting (2019-2020), there was a decrease of 13% in accidents and half of those crashes transpired in the months of September-December 2019. There is speculation that the pandemic caused fewer drivers on the road in 2020, therefore naturally cutting down accidents in the area. Another explanation for the decrease of crashes given by a Colorado State Trooper to the Gazette was attributed to drivers becoming more familiar with the section, along with added mitigation and response to accidents by CDOT. Response time to accidents in this section has been slashed from an average of 40 minutes to 20 minutes.
What is the progress and when will it be finished?
The construction on the 18-mile stretch is entering its final year and is scheduled to be completed in November of 2022. In 2019 and 2020 additional funding was added to address issues found after starting construction and is now slated for a total budget of $419 million.
How Do You Navigate This Area?
- If you are like many of us at McDivitt, the drive between Colorado’s two largest cities is essential, what do you do?
- Pay attention to construction zones and speed limits. Crews are working around the clock and on weekends in order to finish the project on time.
- Check road closures. Occasionally a lane is closed, and this makes the congestion even tougher.
- Don’t use your smartphone.
- Know where the exits are in case you need to pull over. There are no shoulders in most places.
Click here for more information on “The Gap” from CDOT.