Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Dept. of Transportation Executive Director Don Hunt announced 44 partnership projects on Oct. 17 as part of the state’s Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) program.
The projects total $580 million to expand the statewide transportation system. The RAMP program was created in December 2012 as a new approach to budgeting and planning to accelerate completion of transportation projects.
“The innovative RAMP program will allow us to make critical improvements to our state’s transportation system,” Hickenlooper said. “These transportation improvements will increase the safety and access of our roadways. Also, these projects will boost our economy through construction job growth and the improvements to our state’s transportation system.”
The RAMP program has also identified $66 million in operations projects throughout the state. Combined with an additional $800 million dedicated to statewide asset management projects to maintain the system, RAMP will result in an approximately $300 million per year increase in project construction for five years, or 50% more.
RAMP’s impact is significant for the state’s economy, as every $1.5 million spent on transportation projects sustains or creates 10.55 jobs. Under the RAMP program, CDOT will fund multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount of a project before construction begins.
This will match project expenditures with available revenues and allow CDOT to fund additional transportation projects over the next five years. CDOT will continue moving forward the RAMP program in addition to the flood recovery efforts and will work with counties affected by the flooding to determine the best time for project implementation.
“The local and private-sector response to this program has been extraordinary, with CDOT receiving a total of 166 applications requesting more than $1.54 billion, over two times the total funding available,” said Hunt. “While it demonstrates the continued transportation needs we have statewide, we were also able to extend the reach of our RAMP funds because our local partners also contributed $118 million to these projects and we hope to leverage more from the private sector.”
The 44 partnership project elements include: 238 lane-miles improved, 89 lane-miles added, 26 lane-miles transferred from the state system, 116 shoulder-miles improved or added, 13 rehabilitated bridges, five new wildlife passes, one new pedestrian bridge, nine reconstructed interchanges, four “main street” highway projects and 16 transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Additionally, many of these projects will result in better safety conditions and reduce accidents. For example, the Pueblo I-25 project will reduce accidents by 65% in that area and the S.H. 9 project in Grand County will dramatically reduce vehicle and wildlife collisions.
Improved travel times are another outcome of many of the projects, for instance, the proposed interchange reconstruction at I-25 and Arapahoe will improvement travel times up to 50% in some directions.