Town halls planned on C-470 improvements

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By Vicky Gits

The C-470 Coalition is holding a series of open houses to gather information on how to fund improvements on the highway between I-25 and South Kipling, a stretch that has been seriously congested during rush hour for several years.

All the open houses are during the week of Sept. 24.

Each meeting will follow the same format and include the same displays, a brief presentation, and the chance to meet with coalition representatives to ask questions.

The coalition estimates it will cost $200 million to add lanes to the freeway.

On the stretch between I-25 and Kipling, eastbound travelers are facing delays of more than 11 minutes in the morning and more than 18 minutes in the evening. In 20 years, delays are expect to exceed 20 to 25 minutes, according to the C-470 Coalition website, www.c470coalition.com.

"There is very little money at the state or federal level," said Joy Wasendorf of Communications Infrastructure Group of Evergreen, a spokesperson for the coalition.

The goal is to collect information and come up with a report in mid- to late November that sums up the prevailing public opinion on whether to use tolls or seek a vote for a property tax or sales tax.

Origins of the C-470 Coalition

The coalition was formed in February 2011 to provide a forum for local governments, businesses and citizens to consider funding options and reach a consensus on a plan to pay for C-470 improvements between I-25 and I-70.

It consists of governmental entities along the route, including the counties of Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson; the cities of Centennial, Greenwood Village, Littleton and Lone Tree; plus the Highlands Ranch Metropolitan District.

In addition to telephone town halls and open houses, the coalition representatives are meeting with HOAs and community groups. A more scientific public opinion poll will be conducted in mid- to late September.

The most popular solution is adding express lanes, based on an informal, unscientific poll conducted during a series of telephone town halls in August.

Tolled express lanes, known as Option A, would be self-supporting. According to the coalition, 53 percent of the 21,552 respondents who answered the question said Option A was best.

The coalition called some 200,000 people on a random basis on three nights. People who didn't receive a phone call could participate by calling an 877 number with a PIN number.

Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier co-hosted the call-in on July 31.

Communications Infrastructure Group and CRL Associates have been hired to manage the public outreach portion of the research.

"We can't assume one thing or the other," Wasendorf said. "We have to put all the options on the table."

Schedule of open houses

• Ken Caryl Ranch House

Monday, Sept. 24

7676 S. Continental Divide Road

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

• Highlands Ranch

Tuesday, Sept. 25

Recreation Center at Southridge, Backcountry Room

4800 McArthur Ranch Road

6:30 to 8 p.m.

• Homestead Elementary School gymnasium

Wednesday, Sept. 26

7451 S. Homestead Parkway


6:30 to 8 p.m.

• Lone Tree Arts Center, Event Hall

Thursday, Sept. 27

10075 Commons St.

6:30 to 8 p.m.

Options under consideration

• Option A: Tolled express lanes; two tolled express lanes, four general purpose lanes, two auxiliary lanes (where needed)

• Option B: All lanes tolled, including tolled auxiliary lanes (where needed)

• Option C: All general purpose lanes with auxiliary lanes