DENVER –Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher thinks money can be better spent than on widening Interstate 70 to 10 lanes in northeast Denver.
The Colorado Department of Transportation wants to spend $1.8 billion to widen I-70 to five lanes in each direction between Brighton Boulevard and Tower Road.
“It makes no sense to me and is not good public policy to build a 10-lane freeway when it likely will never be needed, may in point of fact be obsolete sooner than later, is destructive to neighborhoods, and a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer dollars,” Gallagher wrote in a letter to CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt.
The Denver City Council will consider CDOT’s proposal at a meeting Monday night.
The widening is part of an overall plan that would call for the destruction of the viaduct that splits the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood and I-70 then would go under an 800-foot-wide “lid”
Gallagher is in favor of putting I-70 below grade, but not to 10 lanes.
That much widening “is not in the best interests of Denver, its residents, and particularly the residents of the neighborhoods: it will not make them real neighborhoods again,” he wrote.
Gallagher prefers an alternative plane to move I-70 along I-270. But CDOT says that could double the cost of the project.