On March 21, political leaders including U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Jeffco Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper and Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker joined Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials in a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of a replacement bridge at I-70 and 32nd Avenue in Wheat Ridge.
In a written statement, Perlmutter’s office said the project aligns with CFDOT’s 10-year plan commitment to replace aged bridges throughout the region and state. The statement also pointed to the improved safety aspects the replacement bridge will offer, as well as its ability to support increasing traffic.
“This intersection right behind me is notorious in that a year or two ago, a chunk of concrete fell off the bridge and landed on the hood of a brand new car,” Perlmutter said, referencing the soon-to-be-rebuilt bridge.
Funding for I-70 bridge replacement infrastructure projects comes from both state and federal sources.
Perlmutter said although construction disruption is never easy to deal with, residents in the area should see increased ability to deliver goods and services—something important to the business community. He also said infrastructure projects would create good paying jobs in the state over the span of the next 10 years.
Dahlkemper said the project was a great example of federal, state and local leaders working together to make things happen.
“Jefferson County is the gateway to the Rockies, as we know, and a highly traveled important stretch of the interstate connecting Denver and the metro area with our I-70 mountain communities,” she said. “And this project will help improve both the safety and mobility for Jefferson County residents as well as all Coloradans.”
Shoshana Lew, CDOT Director, said her agency had done a comprehensive study on the state’s bridges in 2021, quantifying which bridges were most in need of replacement.
“Finally, finally, we are bringing this bridge and several others to today’s standards,” she said.
Starker spoke about the project’s ability to spur creative and innovative development in the community. He said Wheat Ridge will invest funds for bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, landscaping and beautification at the project site.
Construction is due to begin this summer for another replacement bridge at I-70 and Harlan Street. Overall, the surrounding area could see as many as six bridges replaced.