Colorado Department of Transportation 
January 2016
Project Schedule 
  • Phase 0 Construction (offline): July 2015
  • Phase 1 Construction (mainline work) begins: Spring 2016
  • Fully Operational: Winter 2017
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Prioritized Project Goals

 

Project goals were established and approved by the Executive Oversight Committee. The goals provide direction to the project team and to the design-build contractor team.

 

Project Goals 

1. Maximize overall safety, capacity and operation of the interchange and the surrounding transportation network within the Project budget;

 

2. Complete Project construction to be fully operational before winter 2017;

 

3. Minimize impacts and inconvenience to the community, motorists, businesses, downtown and the public during construction; and

 

4. Achieve an aesthetically pleasing design compatible with current and future amenities and enhancements in and around the interchange.

What the Project Involves 

 

Planned improvements include reconstructing I-25 between Colorado Avenue (to the north) and the Nevada Avenue/Tejon Street interchange (to the south), and include a continuous northbound travel lane between the S. Nevada/ Tejon interchange and the Cimarron interchange. Project boundaries on Cimarron are between 8th Street to the west and the Cimarron bridge over Fountain Creek to the east. Once construction is complete in 2017, the project will provide:
  • Improved interstate and interchange operations and safety;
  • Improved highway alignment and improved ramps, acceleration/deceleration lanes for increased vehicle storage and safety;
  • New I-25 bridge structures;
  • New connection between 8th Street and Cimarron Street; 
  • Improved trail connectivity and aesthetic treatments.
  • Reconstruction of approximately 2,100 feet of Upper Fountain Creek, enhancing stream habitat.
Progress To Date 
  • Road and embankment - southbound I-25 off and on-ramps - embankment, cut, clearing and fill
  • Eastbound US 24 bridge over Upper Fountain Creek
  • Utility relocations
Project Partners
  • Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • El Paso County
  • The Community
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Concrete Walls - A Work of Art
The Fountain Creek concrete walls for the I-25/Cimarron project are in the sculptor's hands. This project began with THK Associates, Inc. (a landscape architectural design firm) working with an aesthetics committee comprised of community stakeholders.The committee worked through the issues, agreed the wall design at the bridge abutments adjacent to Fountain Creek should focus on aquatic elements. That's when Kevin Shanks and staff at THK Associates produced three design concepts. Click here to view selected panel design concept. Based on stakeholder input, the fish concept was selected and a computer aided drafting (CAD) design was generated. "THK's design efforts start with rough sketches that are refined through input, review, client and stakeholder involvement," said Julie Gamec, THK landscape architect.

Buck Scott, owner Scott System, Inc.
Scott System was hired to take the approved CAD design and produce the form liner that will be replicated into concrete. Buck Scott, owner of Scott System, pioneered the development of elastomeric urethane form liners. He holds more than 20 patents related to architectural concrete construction. The Denver company is able to turn an ordinary concrete wall into a work of art. This requires a collaborative effort from CDOT, THK Associates, Inc., the aesthetic committee, and contractors.

Pictured left to right: Sead Telalovic sculptor at Scott System, Inc. and Mario Gutierrez general manager of Scott System, Inc.
Sead Telalovic, Scott System sculptor, never imagined he'd have the opportunity to work on this type of project. Sead moved to the United States in 2002 from Europe. "I didn't go to art school in Yugoslavia to sculpt large concrete retaining walls," he said. But now the sculptor's work can be found from Canada to Hong Kong, on walls for highways, neighborhoods, benches and parks. Sead is an internationally acclaimed artist, who has sculpted concrete panels locally in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

Scott System works closely with THK Associates, Inc. They print the CAD design to scale and the sculptor marks all points to make certain they line up. The sculptor works on the clay on large boards, the actual size of the final panels. The clay remains soft and adjustments can be made as needed. "From the clay, the master work is finished, a cast is made using a synthetic liquid rubber and from this cast elastomeric urethane form liners are produced in the reverse image of the original," said Buck Scott. The form liners are used to create custom finishes in concrete.

The concrete panels will be complete and installed adjacent to Fountain Creek in 2017.

"This process started with the stakeholders' overcoming challenges, to communicate a common vision. Once produced and installed near Fountain Creek, they will be a work of art for all who use the corridor and trail system," said Kevin Shanks, vice president and director of THK Associates, Inc. 
Aerial Photos of Project

Click here to view project progress photos. New photos are updated on a monthly basis so check back frequently.
Temporary Concrete Plant Locates to Project Site

In February 2016, the public can expect to see a small temporary concrete plant installed at US 24 and 8th Street (former Express Inn location). Concrete production from this plant will be used only for the I-25/Cimarron project. The installation of this plant will reduce concrete truck traffic through Colorado Springs.  
A Look Ahead - Phase 1
Spring 2016
 
Expect construction activities to increase with the start of Phase 1 this spring. 
  • Southbound exit ramp - the existing cloverleaf exit ramp will be removed and a new exit ramp (utilizing the temporary bridge) will be opened.
  • Work will begin on the southbound on-ramp - anticipated completion of the ramp is summer 2016.
  • I-25 will continue to have three lanes open in each direction during Phase 1.
  • A reduced speed of 55 mph on I-25 through the project area will be in effect during Phase 1.
  • The travelling public will encounter frequent alignment changes on US 24 during Phase 1.
Project Team Spotlight

CDOT Resident Engineer and Project Director Dave Watt

When Dave Watt was a young man, he never dreamed he'd be managing the CDOT I-25/ Cimarron Design-Build project. He spent his time working at Foothills Golf Course in Denver at the driving range and in the kitchen just to get discounted golf at a great course. But he says he "talks a better game than he plays."
 
Since Watt has lived in the region for the past 32 years, he has developed an appreciation for local projects, he said. He has been involved in a US 24 Flood Recovery project, the Nevada/Rockrimmon interchange project, Curtis Road and 94 project by Peterson Air Force Base, and SH16/US 24 West. "I really enjoy working with local agencies and helping them spend their money effectively to address their transportation needs," said Watt, who has been with CDOT for 16 years.
 
The team strategy for the I-25/Cimarron Interchange Project is to focus on cooperation and coordination within the project team, which includes CDOT/the owner, and Kraemer NA/the contractor. "Keeping stakeholders informed is also a priority. It's important to maintain open lines of communication and keep on track toward achieving the project goals," said Watt.
 
"I've been fortunate to have very good project teams," said Watt. "With a strong team focused on getting the work done, we are able to better deliver on the project goals. And, it makes the work more enjoyable."

Kraemer Construction Manager Kassie Watson

When Kassie Watson isn't hiking with her French Mastiff, Nala, training for triathlons, or skiing, she's busy managing construction for the I-25/Cimarron project. Construction manager, Watson, has been with Kraemer for 14 years and previously worked on the US 6 Bridges Design-Build project in Denver. She brings a lot of experience to the construction field. When asked what her strategy is for managing a successful job, Watson explained that "planning" is vital.  "You have to know the scope of work, coordinate the details and communicate the plan to the team."
 
Watson not only oversees the work in the field, but also spends a bulk of her time in the office leading meetings, reviewing engineering plans and much, much more. You can always count on Watson to run her meetings on schedule and focused on the task at hand, helping her to run a smooth construction project on schedule, and within budget.  

Additional Project Information

 

For more information about the project, visit the CDOT website project pageTo receive future I-25/Cimarron project e-newsletters and construction notices, send an email to [email protected].


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