Sunday, November 22, 2009

C-470 Flyover For Southwest Light Rail Extension


It's always been on RTD's to-do list to extend the Southwest light rail extension, currently running from Broadway and Mississippi to Santa Fe and Mineral. Exactly how far and where has been a question ever since they built the original extension in 1999. Now we know.

The main expense will be a flyover taking the light rail line over all 4-6 lanes of C-470 onto the south side of the highway. This would be a separate flyover from the CDOT-planned flyover running the same way from southbound Santa Fe to eastbound C-470, eliminating a nasty left-hand turn that has run at capacity or over capacity ever since the interchange was constructed. The CDOT flyover would go over the highway, over/under the BNSF/UP Joint Line bridges and under the RTD flyover.

All this lacing with concrete will work to eat up the funds of FasTracks, which already is in trouble because of the lost revenues because of the financial depression. Nevermind that one of the two planned stations isn't accounted for in the FasTracks plan. This is not good.

Despite the cost, RTD and Denver need this extension. It will relieve the pressure at the Mineral station, which is currently the southern terminus. Additionally, it will establish a direct link with C-470 at one/two interchanges, which will lure commuters coming in from Ken Caryl, Kipling, and Wadsworth from the west. Finally, it links the Highlands Ranch neighborhood directly to the Light Rail system, which should be a deep mine for RTD to draw from for decades to come. Sometimes a tree only needs to cross a few inches of clay to reach the aquifer for explosive growth. If RTD can cross the belt highway, they may do the same thing.

More on Kevin Flynn's Inside Lane

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