Denver Auditor Gallagher not fully behind CDOT’s I-70 expansion proposal

The “Partial Cover Lowered Option” could route a portion of I-70 under a small, elevated park or other public area. (Credit: EIS website)

The “Partial Cover Lowered Option” could route a portion of I-70 under a small, elevated park or other public area. (Credit: EIS website)

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.