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News Archive

October 12, 2023

Boulder County and Partners Celebrate $25 Million RAISE Grant for CO 119 Project

Money Will Be Part of $162 Million Diagonal Hwy. Project Which Begins With Rumble Strips

CO119 RAISE Event Commissioner Claire Levy

Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy speaks during the kickoff for the CO 119 Safety and Mobility Project at Whistle Stop Park in Niwot on Thursday, Oct. 12.


Key Points

  • Funding has been secured for implementation of the project, which is expected to begin construction in 2024.
  • The $162 million project will add a commuter bikeway as well as Bus Rapid Transit stops along with other safety and mobility improvements.
  • A rumble strip project will begin soon to address bicycle safety concerns on CO 119. Rumble strips warn drivers audibly and with vibration that they are going off the road.

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County joined state and federal officials in celebrating getting a $25 million federal grant to help fund a far-reaching multimodal safety improvement project on CO 119 (The Diagonal) between Longmont and Boulder.

“This project is the result of 10 years of steadfast partnerships and perseverance by Boulder County working alongside CDOT, RTD, Federal Highway Administration, cities of Boulder and Longmont plus Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Mayors & Commissioners Coalition,” said Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis congratulated the various groups in attendance at the event Thursday who have been advocating “Together, this project will help save lives, open up new opportunities, protect our fragile environment and make Colorado an even better place than we found it,” he said.

Coming together and working together was one of the main themes of the day’s event. The safety and mobility project on the Diagonal has been the subject of multiple studies and committees and grant applications for years.

“I’m as excited as anybody to find this day finally upon us! This project is going to provide mobility and safety to a treacherous part of connections in Boulder County,” said Sen. John Hickenlooper. “I want to thank not only Governor Polis but his entire team and Shoshana (Lew, CDOT executive director) and her team at CDOT — these things don’t happen in a vacuum, it’s people working together, and rolling up their sleeves.”

With the $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant, the $162 million project will add a commuter bikeway in the middle of the two directions of road, as well as add Bus Rapid Transit stops that will prioritize RTD buses at signals and cut down the transit time. A number of other safety improvements are also planned at major intersections.

“This project is a great example of how we can reimagine our transportation system and give people more choices for how they want to commute and more through their community,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We’re offering options like additional transit opportunities and better pedestrian and cyclists facilities that increase safety.”

State Sen. Faith Winter, who recently had a bicycle crash of her own, said “this project and this effort brought Colorado together to make this happen.”

RTD General Manager Debra Johnson added that RTD put in $33 million for this project as well. “This project is an example for the rest of the state,” she said. “This is a testament for what working together can do.”

Federal Highway Administration’s Ryan Owen also spoke about how so many different groups came together to make this happen. “Roads should not only lead us to our destinations but also ensure that we arrive there unharmed,” he said. “This project signifies the unwavering commitment of the many agencies involved to create a safe and efficient transportation system.”

Michael White, the father of Magnus White, the USA Cycling member from Boulder who was killed when his bike was hit by a driver who went into the shoulder where he was riding, also spoke of the need for speeding up the process to get projects like this funded. “We have to, so no other family will have to experience the total and utter devastation we have faced, and will live with the rest of our lives,” he said.

Northeast Regional Transportation Director for CDOT Heather Paddock noted that the team advanced a piece of the project to be done this year: Rumble strips which warn drivers audibly and with vibration that they are going off the road.

“Nothing can bring back Magnus or any of the people who have lost their lives on this roadway,” Paddock said. “What we can do is try to do better. This project does just that.”

Rep. Joe Neguse was unable to attend the ceremony on Thursday, but wanted to add, “I’m excited to join folks from across Boulder County in celebrating the groundbreaking of the Colorado Highway 119 project – a new, more reliable transportation corridor between two of the fastest-growing cities in our state. And I’m grateful for the partnership and collaboration of local and state leaders as our office worked to secure the critical Federal funding needed to make this important project come to fruition.”

Background

By the year 2040, the Diagonal Highway between Boulder and Longmont is expected to see a 25 percent increase in vehicular traffic which can result in more congestion, delay, emissions, and potentially more crashes. Boulder County, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Regional Transportation District and project partners are taking action to mitigate these outcomes and expand transportation options beyond vehicles.

The CO119 Safety & Mobility Improvements and Bikeway Project will provide improvements to make traveling through the corridor safer for all modes, as well as faster and more reliable for public transit. It will provide critical intersection safety improvements, construct a regional bikeway, and implement Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), connecting the counties of Larimer, Weld and Boulder.

Project improvements include:

  • Pedestrian crossings
    • New signage
    • Striping
    • Improved signal timing
  • Intersections
    • Reconfiguring the CO 52 intersection into a split intersection
    • Safety improvements and access changes to the Airport Road intersection and other non-signalized intersections on the corridor
    • Reconstructing Hover Street intersection
  • Commuter bikeway
    • 9 miles of 12-foot wide concrete path separated from road
    • 6 Underpasses with Pump Stations
    • Grade-separated crossings at major intersections
    • Direct connection to BRT stations and existing bike networks
  • Queue bypass lanes
    • Jay Road
    • CO 52
    • 63rd Street
    • Niwot Road
    • Airport Road
  • Park-n-Rides
    • 63rd Street
    • Niwot Road
  • Bus Rapid Transit stations
    • 63rd Street
    • CO 52
    • Niwot Road

Upcoming Rumble Strips Project

Acknowledging that the larger construction projects will not commence until 2024, the project team will be doing a fall rumble strip project to address bicycle safety concerns.

Rumble strips will be installed along the edge line of the outside shoulder throughout the corridor where there is adequate space for them to be installed and still allow for cyclists to utilize the shoulders. At intersections, signage will be installed to alert drivers of the cyclists and increase awareness.

Funding

Funding has been secured for implementation of the project, which is expected to begin construction in 2024. CDOT, RTD, Boulder County, City of Longmont, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) have committed $137 million for construction.

Project Partners

CDOT, RTD, Boulder County, City of Boulder, City of Longmont, Commuting Solutions, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Contact Information

For more information, visit the CO119 Safety & Mobility Improvements and Bikeway Project websites or email co119safetyandmobility@gmail.com. Contact Stacey Proctor, Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting at sproctor@bouldercounty.gov or 303-441-1107.