Lone Tree studying Lincoln interchange

I-25 site and others along corridor will undergo analysis for traffic, mobility improvements

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A major gateway to Lone Tree, and a significant driver of crashes among the city's intersections, is slated for what city staff call “critical” safety and mobility improvements. But years before shovels can hit the ground, the city needs a plan.

Lone Tree's council took that next step on July 20 when it approved a contract with Wilson & Company to analyze needs and potential improvements at the I-25 and Lincoln Avenue interchange.

The I-25 and Lincoln Avenue Traffic and Mobility Improvement Study will last through 2023 and assess ways to alleviate congestion, bolster transit options and improve access for pedestrians and cyclists.

Although the I-25 interchange will be the study's main focus, additional intersections will get a second look too. The total project area spans more than a mile and a half, from Lincoln's intersection with Park Meadows Drive on the west of I-25 to Oswego Street on the east.

The study has a maximum budget of $4 million and will be funded by both Lone Tree and Douglas County with the help of a grant awarded to each through Denver Regiional Council of Governments (DRCOG).

Lone Tree Director of Public Works and Mobility Justin Schmitz said it's unclear what changes Wilson & Company will recommend. The group is tasked with forming several scenarios for overhauling the intersection before the city will choose its preferred option. From there, the consultants will also begin preliminary project design.

Staff hope to have all design completed by 2026, so construction can begin as soon as funding is gathered. An interchange project typically costs between $80 and $100 million, if not more, Schmitz said speaking to Colorado Community Media.

City memos note the intersection falls on one of Lone Tree's most prominent corridors and is a hub for both local and commuter traffic.

Shoppers filter in on their way to the expansive Park Meadows mall on the northwest side of the interchange. To the east lies the bustling Meridian center, and open areas slated for future development.

Lone Tree residents use the interchange as one of their main entrances in and out of the community, and much of the city's workforce commutes to the area on its way to the nearby Charles Schwab campus or the burgeoning Kiewit regional headquarters.

Lincoln Avenue also serves as a key connector for Highlands Ranch and Parker, as one of two non-tolled roads running from east to west between the northern Douglas County communities.

“This particular intersection is not only important to us and the east side development, but really to the entire Denver metro area and any development that happens to the south of us,” District 1 Councilmember Wynne Shaw said.

Schmitz said safety is another key focus. The intersection fell at No. 1 on Lone Tree's list of the top 10 intersections with the most accidents, according to the city's transportation master plan.

Between 2014 and 2018, there were 112 accidents at I-25 and Lincoln Avenue. The intersection of Park Meadows Drive and County Line Road came in second with 82 accidents during that time period.

“Part of the initial phase of this project will be to do a detailed analysis of the crash patterns and crash data that exists at the interchange,” Schmitz told Colorado Community Media.

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