Weld County Leader Pushing State Transportation Commission to Fully Fund North I-25 Fixes

June 23, 2018 GMT

As the state transportation commission prepares to allocate money approved in May and to firm up which projects around the state are highest priority, civic leaders from northern Colorado requested they consider fully funding northern Interstate 25.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 1 into law in May. The measure provides $451 million in one-time funding to the state’s highway system and allows the state to issue $380 million in certificates of participation for transportation projects. Additionally, measures from outside groups may be on the ballot in November asking voters to expand the Colorado Department of Transportation’s financing authority, to be put towards Tier One priority projects first.

Representatives from both the North I-25 Coalition and the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance presented a letter to the Colorado Transportation Commission on Thursday that asks the commission to set aside $200 million for two segments of I-25 between Longmont and Loveland and mark two segments between Loveland and Fort Collins as Tier One priorities.


The groups argue that fixing and expanding I-25 for about 27 miles from Colo. 66 all the way up to Colo. 14 as one project is imperative for the freight traffic on I-25 as well as for the increasing population in that area of the state.

“North of Mead, those lanes needed to be redone or reconstructed about eight years ago,” said Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, who is the chair of the North I-25 Coalition. “That’s why we’re pushing so hard for (those segments), because they need to be part of the whole project at this point, the whole construction.”

Kirkmeyer is also chair of the Highway 85 coalition, for which she is facing a recall effort by Mead resident Sara Mondragon. Mondragon told The Greeley Tribune that she considers Kirkmeyer responsible for a failure to install railroad crossings at certain intersections of Highway 85.

Currently, I-25 is three lanes in each direction until the Colo. 66 exit, at which the highway narrows to two lanes in each direction. Kirkmeyer said it creates a bottleneck for traffic.

The plan for segments five and six of I-25, between Longmont and Loveland, is to replace the aging infrastructure of the highway and add a managed express toll lane similar to what is on U.S. 36 or on I-25 north of Denver, so there would be two general purpose lanes and one express toll lane in each direction. It is projected to cost $236 million for segment five and $400 million for segment six.

In the fall, the commission slated $200 million for segment six to match a grant that was on the table. While the project did not receive the grant, the two organizations are asking the commission to come through with the $200 million anyway in one-time funds for the segment of I-25 leading into Loveland.


Segment five is included in the Tier One projects list and is slated to be funded if either of the ballot measures this November expanding CDOT’s financing authority are approved by voters.

For segments seven and eight from Loveland to Fort Collins, the organizations are asking the commission to move the potential $660 million projects to the Tier One priority list.

Kirkmeyer argues that the highway needs to be in better shape because it’s a freight corridor important to companies that are locating along the thoroughfare, like the J.M. Smucker Company, which paid $4.65 million for land in Longmont and in Weld County at Highway 119.

Smucker plans to build a $340 million plant for its Uncrustables frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to be completed in 2019.

“Smuckers is located at essentially 119 and I-25 and one of the reasons that companies like that are located there — when you think about the job capture area they have, it’s not just Longmont, but it’s 20 to 30 miles out from that location,” she said. “They need those workers to be able to get to the plant and the other thing is, they need that corridor to be able to move their goods north or south on I-25.”

Kirkmeyer said the ball is in the Colorado Transportation Commission’s court now, but she hopes that the full four segments of I-25 from Longmont to Fort Collins can be prioritized as an important project for the state ahead of the initiatives that could be on the November ballot.

“We consider I-25 to be Main Street Colorado, especially since 70 percent of the population lives somewhere along that corridor,” she said. “The functionality needs to extend to everything north of Denver.”

Karen Antonacci: 303-684-5226, or