It may be a while, but underpass is underway

Yes, there will be an underpass allowing walkers and cyclists safe passage across Interstate 25 just north of G.W. Bush Avenue, in Wellington, but it may be a while in coming.

Part of the planned Boxelder Trail System, the underpass will cross I-25 at the site of the Knolls development to the east and Meadows to the west.

Its completion will please users of the nearby disc golf course who must drive to the other side of the highway to complete the course. It will also make passage much easier for school children on their way to Rice Elementary School.

Discussions about the project began more than a year ago. According to Wellington Town Manager Larry Lorentzen, progress has been slowed by a required appraisal and Colorado Department of Transportation approval. Lorentzen explained that because federal funds from CDOT are involved, the project has required more approvals and paperwork than anticipated.

“We are now in a design review stage with CDOT,” Lorentzen said. “Right-of-way plans are at a point where we can approach the private property owner for the easement needed to complete the project. We’ve had previous discussions with the landowner and don’t anticipate any problems with acquisition of the land.”

Jared Fiel, regional communications manager for CDOT explained that four processes are involved before the project can be started. They involve utilities, right-of-way and environmental and hydraulics (water flow and runoff) concerns. Only the environmental issues have been addressed completely to date.

“We’re hopeful that these issues will be resolved by year’s end and at that time the project will be be put out to bid,” Fiel said.

The project will cost $270,000 and federal funds will cover $195,000 of the total. The Town of Wellington is responsible for a 20 percent match which leaves an “overmatch” amount that must also be paid by the town of Wellington, according to Fiel.

Completion of the project is anticipated by spring 2015.

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