Boulder Turnpike construction expected to last ‘a few more months’

BOULDER, Colo. — The Denver Turnpike gets tied up every morning, and now we’re seeing bigger jams because major roadwork is under way.

But this project will give U.S. 36 a much-needed makeover.

The turnpike opened in 1951. Back then it was a tollway and rarely crowded, with only 7,000 cars using it a day.

Now it’s packed with up to 100,000 drivers a day.

With that increased congestion on their minds, the Colorado Department of Transportation wanted to give old U.S. 36 a face lift.

“We’re going to bring it back to the 21st century,” CDOT project director John Schwab said.

This past summer, CDOT started working on widening the highway. They’re also adding an express lane that can be used by carpoolers for free. Or drivers can pay a toll to use it — just like on i-25.

And as a new year has dawned, the project is seeing nice progress.

Crews have been working away, and have now shut down some lanes. But 2 lanes are getting by both eastbound and westbound from Sheridan to Church Ranch.

But the shoulder is very small, meaning an accident could lead to a lot of congestion.

How much longer will the lane closures remain in place? CDOT says at least a few more months.

But they’re asking residents to bear with them, because in the long run, this $312 million project will transform the highway and greatly improve traffic flow.

“Hopefully we can keep people moving through this corridor and get them to the places they need to be,” Schwab said.