Every morning, the southbound I-225 commute from Aurora plays out exactly how it did the day before — with terror and agony. So we contacted CDOT, and you’ll never guess what they said.
I’m serious when I say that the three-and-a-half mile stretch of I-225 between Parker Road and I-25 is a nightmare. And if you live in Aurora and commute to the DTC, you probably think so, too.
Every morning, I use my iPhone’s google maps app to tell me the quickest route into work, and every morning it reports that 225 — being the most direct route to my destination — is still my best bet. So I brace myself and join thousands of others in a miserable concrete trap that just keeps (almost deceptively) welcoming more and more cars into its fold (*cough* Parker Road) while providing zero routes of escape for the next three miles and creating a line of cars and trucks stretching as far as the eye can see. And a piece of my soul dies.
Where the on-ramp from Parker Road merges with I-225, there are six lanes of traffic. Count them: six. Then, a few feet later, it narrows down to five. Then, 200 feet after that, it narrows down to four. At Yosemite, we lose one more lane, and by Tamarac/DTC, we’re down to two. Two measly lanes. Six lanes down to two, before merging with I-25 and eventually petering out. Three and a half miles of pure hell — a massive, life-sized funnel.
As I sit there lost in the sea of brake lights, I stare longingly at the Light Rail train as it buzzes by (the train doesn’t make sense for my specific commute), and my eyes wander up to the Dam Road, which I see is in the middle of its own traffic nightmare, its long line of vehicles resigned to their fate as well. I imagine what radio stations other drivers are listening to; I wonder if everyone else feels as hopeless in this mess as me.
I focus on the mountains in the distance, glad that at least I don’t have to face the sun like my friends in the western part of the city do. I envision myself elsewhere — zipping down side streets, discovering time-saving shortcuts. But mostly, I start trying to solve the I-225 road planning issue myself, envisioning where the Department of Transportation could add another lane, wondering what kind of construction and timeline it would take to ultimately fix the nightmare — and whether or not it would be worth the hassle.
Worth the hassle? Who am I kidding? I remember when they widened northbound I-225 at Parker Road a couple years ago; it changed my life.
So one day, I reached out to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to see “what the plan was,” and I was delighted by their Customer Service Team’s response:
That’s right: CDOT is adding a lane! In a “pilot project,” as they’re calling it, CDOT will be utilizing the shoulder to simply re-stripe the lanes and add a third on the southbound route between Yosemite and I-25.
The project has draw-backs for drivers who join the I-225 frenzy at Tamarac/DTC and hope to head south on I-25 (that will no longer be allowed), but it is expected to “cut traffic delays in half during rush-hours.” Huzzah!
The best part? This is happening soon — hopefully within the next few weeks! And because it will be accomplished at night, the construction should have a minimal impact on traffic.
So there you have it. This is the best news Aurora residents have had in a long time. We’re thankful to the great team at CDOT who was already on top of this issue before we even reached out!
If you want to read more about CDOT, visit its website.
Do you have thoughts on the additional lane on southbound I-225? Can you relate to this traffic nightmare? We want to know what you think! Tell us in the comments below, and next time we’re sitting next to each other in 225 traffic, feel free to roll down your window and say “hey”!