Ports-to-Plains: Study Finds Investment in Four-Lane Highway Leads to Nearly 1,100 Trucks Diverted Daily from I-25

July 13, 2020 – LIMON, CO – The Colorado Department of Transportation, Region 4, released findings from the CO-71 Truck Freight Diversion Feasibility Study, which determined the truck reduction on I-25 is 7-9 percent, diverting as many as 1,100 trucks a day, with four-lane divided highway on CO-71.

CO-71 is part of the Heartland Expressway, a congressionally designated High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System. One of the primary goals of the freight analysis study was to determine if,  and what, roadway improvements to CO-71 would attract truck drivers off the heavily congested I-25 front-range corridor of Colorado.

Further, the study showed a positive Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR). The BCR framework involves defining a Base Case or “No Build” Case, which is compared to the “Build” Case, where the project is built as proposed. In the case of this project, two alternative Build Cases are considered: the “Shoulders with Passing Lanes” scenario, in which passing lanes and shoulders are added to CO-71, and the “Four-Lane Divided Highway” scenario, in which the road is converted to four full lanes.

The total benefits over the course of the analysis period are projected to be $321 million for “Shoulders with Passing Lanes” with cost estimates ranging from $170 million to $292 million and $593 million in total benefits for the “Four-Lane Divided Highway” with cost estimates ranging from $410 million to $556 million.  This results in a BCR for the “Shoulders with Passing Lanes” at the medium cost range of 1.39 with a $90 million Net Present Value.  For the “Four-Lane Divided Highway”, at the medium cost range, the BCR is 1.23 with a Net Present Value of $110 million. Any BCR greater than 1.0 is positive.

“The Ports-to-Plains Alliance continues to advocate for four-lane improvements or even a future interstate highway on this Heartland Expressway Corridor, as well as the Ports-to-Plains Corridor on  US-287 between Limon and the Colorado Oklahoma State Line,” said, Steve Burgess, Lincoln County Commissioner and Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board Member.  “I-25 is not the long-term answer as the only north-south corridor serving Colorado. CDOT planning must look to the future.”

The Complete Study is available at: https://www.codot.gov/library/studies/co71-truckdiversion-study

Ports-to-Plains is a grassroots alliance of over 200 communities and businesses, including alliance partners Heartland Expressway and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, whose mission is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America’s energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada. Additional information on the Ports-to-Plains Alliance is available at http://www.portstoplains.com/.

Submitted to The BARN by:

Joe Kiely, 719-740-2240

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.