Wellington on way to getting I-25 pedestrian underpass

A new pedestrian underpass beneath Interstate 25 should connect one side of Wellington with the other by early 2013.

In addition to providing a safe crossing for students walking or riding bikes from the east side of town, the underpass will connect the town to the regional trail network linking municipalities within Larimer and Weld counties.

After years of effort, town manager Larry Lorentzen said he is optimistic that the necessary grant will be approved. The Colorado Department of Transportation, he said, is “fairly favorable to the project.”

The underpass, near E. County Road 60 in south Wellington, would cost $272,500, about $218,000 of which would be covered by a Transportation Enhancement Program grant. The town would fund the rest.

If CDOT OKs the grant, construction is scheduled to begin this fall and continue through February 2013.

The project will use one of three box-culvert “cells” carrying Boxelder Creek flows under the interstate. Lighting and signage would be installed through the 8-foot-tall culvert.

Currently the only pedestrian access is a slim shoulder on Colo. 1 over I-25 at the Wellington interchange. That shoulder is less than a foot wide.

In in a letter supporting the grant request, Rice Elementary School principal Karen Koehn said the underpass would make it much safer and efficient for those among the school’s 370 students who live east of I-25.

She noted that students currently must be driven north to the overpass and back south to the school. The underpass would provide a direct route for them to walk or bike to school for classes or to enjoy its playground.

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