Parsons Helps C-DOT Jump to Island of Conclusions

traffic jam 150x150 Parsons Helps C DOT Jump to Island of Conclusions Colorado Public Radio (CPR) correspondent Zachary Barr reported that Denver is seeking solutions to the weekend cabin crawl on Interstate 70. According to CPR, the Colorado Department of Transportation received an unsolicited proposal from Parsons Corp, the Pasadena, California-based engineering company that specializes in state-of-the-art infrastructure improvements, and formerly worked with C-DOT on the T-REX project. The proposal addressed weekend traffic problems on Colorado’s route to the Rockies.

Mr. Barr revealed that the renovations suggested by Parsons are a two-stage project. The first stage entails an addition of two driving lanes between Metro Denver and Silverthorne. These lanes will be reversible, depending on the flow of traffic, and they will be funded by a variable-rate toll that will increase during times of high traffic.

The second stage involves the extension of these additional lanes, from Silverthorne to Eagle, a small town 30 miles west of Vail. Parsons will also implement a public transit component in the second stage of the project; CDOT has stated they favor a combination of buses traveling on dedicated bus lanes, and a train.

Additional proposals for infrastructure improvement on I-70 will be accepted from competing companies during a formal bidding process to begin in May. Until the bidding process is complete, further details of this and other projects will remain under wraps to ensure that firms who turn their submissions in later aren’t gaining any competitive advantage. If C-DOT elects to move forward with the project, the details of the winning bid will become public record.

But don’t hope for a free ride; C-DOT has made it very clear that they do not have the 2-20 billion dollars in revenue needed to improve traffic problems along I-70’s Rocky Mountain corridor. The idea of a toll road is not new news; here are some fun facts I found in a 1997 article from tollroadnews.com:

·     The area of I-70 slated for improvement sees just 24 thousand cars on an average day, but the average car volume increases to over 44 thousand on holiday weekends. Of course, this was in 1997, the article also states traffic volume increases 3 to 4 percent per year. Given this data we can infer that the road now sees between (24,000*.03)^15 and (24,000*.04)^15 on a normal day and between (44,000*.03)^15 and (44,000*.04)^15 during peak travel times.

SPOILER ALERT; (For those of you without a scientific calculator, {first ponder this, I did the math with a 9 button, a chart and a hazy recollection of the rounding rules I learned in 3rd grade,} the numbers come out to between 37,513 and 41,636 travelers on a weekday, and between 68,548 and 79,242 travelers on weekends and holidays)

·     It’s illegal to levy tolls on existing interstate lanes; meaning I-70 would remain free for drivers who choose not to use newly constructed toll lanes.

·     I-70 is the main truck route between Denver and Chicago.

·     C-DOT has stated, “the natural grandeur of this region justifies extraordinary measure to blend transport improvements into landscapes.”

As a person who hates skiing and loves traffic I’m whole-heartedly against these changes. What do you think Denver? Tell us on Facebook!

 

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About Zaq Tull

A recent graduate of The University of Colorado, (GO BUFFS,) Zaq Tull is a racquet sport enthusiast, and an avid golfer. When he's not boisterously trumpeting the rights of consumers, you can find him experimenting in the kitchen, or with his nose buried in a thick, (and undoubtedly pretentious,) book.