Interstate 270 (Colorado)

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Interstate 270

Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway
U.S. Route 36
Map
I-270 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-70
Maintained by CDOT
Length7.107 mi[1] (11.438 km)
Existed1965[2]–present
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
West end I-25 / US 36 / US 87 in Welby
Major intersections
East end I-70 / US 36 in Denver
Location
CountryUnited States
StateColorado
CountiesAdams, Denver
Highway system
  • Colorado State Highway System
SH 266 US 285

Interstate 270 (I-270) is a seven-mile-long (11 km) auxiliary Interstate Highway located in the northeastern part of the Denver metropolitan area in the US state of Colorado. It overlaps U.S. Highway 36 (US 36) for its entire length and is also a part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway, which spans from I-270 and the Capital Beltway in Bethesda, Maryland, to I-80/US 101 in San Francisco, California.[3] The western terminus of I-270 is at the interchange with I-25 and US 36. It heads eastward to an interchange with I-76, where the mileposts reset because of a previous freeway extension. The freeway heads southeast and comes to meet Vasquez Boulevard, where it enters Commerce City. The road crosses Quebec Street before ending at I-70.

Ground was broken on the first segment of I-270 in 1965, and the freeway was completed three years later, stretching from I-70 to Vasquez Boulevard. The road was then extended to I-76 two years later. The section between I-25 and I-76 was completed in 1999. Since completion, this section has undergone much construction to renew bridges over Clear Creek and Washington Street. Because the western end of I-270 is close to the junction of I-25 and I-76, some traffic movements to I-25 can only be made by using I-76.

Route description

I-270 begins at an interchange with I-25 in Welby and is concurrent with US 36. The speed limit through the first section is 45 mph (72 km/h).[4][5] The freeway heads southeastward for about one mile (1.6 km), crossing over Washington Street and State Highway 224 (SH 224), but access is not provided to either road. Mileposts along I-270 reset to 0 at the I-76 interchange because it was the original western end of the Interstate.[1][6] Since the I-76 interchange is close to both I-270's western end and the I-25/I-76 interchanges, some movements in the interchange are missing. Eastbound I-270 traffic cannot access westbound I-76 nor can eastbound I-76 traffic access westbound I-270. However, traffic on I-25 can access both westbound I-76 and eastbound I-270, thus completing the missing movements. The three interchanges work together by eliminating bottlenecks caused by redundant interchanges.[7]

A sign in a snowy area indicating an exit for I-270 to Fort Collins and SH 35 as the next exit
I-270 exit along I-70

Beyond the I-76 interchange, the speed limit increases to 55 mph (89 km/h).[8] The freeway heads southeast, comes to a westbound exit and eastbound entrance with York Street, and crosses the South Platte River[9] into a commercial area in Adams County. I-270 enters the city of Commerce City,[10] running roughly parallel with the nearby Sand Creek[11] and crossing over SH 265 without an exit.[12][13] Continuing through the city, the route comes to a cloverleaf interchange with Vasquez Boulevard, which carries US 6, US 85, and SH 2.[14] The freeway heads eastward into Denver,[15] where it has an exit at SH 35, a short highway which continues northward along Quebec Street for one mile (1.6 km).[16] Quebec Street provides access for traffic heading to westbound I-70. The route ends shortly thereafter when it merges into I-70.[7]

An aerial photograph
Former site of Stapleton International Airport, located east of I-270. I-270's interchange with I-70 can be seen in the far left.

The freeway is maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), who is responsible for maintaining and constructing transportation infrastructure in Colorado, including highways.[17] As part of this role, CDOT periodically conducts surveys on their highways to measure traffic volume. This is expressed in terms of annual average daily traffic (AADT), which is a measure of traffic volume for any average day of the year. In 2009, CDOT calculated that as few as 56,500 vehicles used I-270 daily east of its western terminus at I-25 and as many as 89,600 vehicles used I-270 daily southeast of York Street in Commerce City.[18] As part of the Interstate Highway System,[19] the entire route is listed on the National Highway System, a system of roads that are important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility.[20]

History

1955 map showing planned Interstate Highways around Denver

The Colorado Department of Highways originally planned to use a single number, I-25E, for the entirety of Denver's eastern loop.[21] The designation was changed to I-225 following correspondence with the American Association of State Highway Officials and split, with the northern leg becoming I-425 in 1958.[22] The northern leg was then renumbered to I-270 on February 26, 1959, following a request from the Colorado Department of Highways to reflect that it would terminate at I-80S (now I-76) instead of I-25.[23]

I-270 was constructed in several phases, beginning with a section from I-70 to Vasquez Boulevard. Following this section was another part of the freeway from Vasquez Boulevard west to I-76, and finally a section from US 36 to I-76. This last segment has undergone much more construction, including new bridges and ramps at interchanges.[2]

Construction

Construction on I-270 began in 1965. The first portion cost about $2.7 million (equivalent to $17.4 million in 2022[24]).[2] It opened in 1968, connecting I-70 to Vasquez Boulevard. Two years later, another two-mile (3.2 km) segment connected the portion already in service to I-80S.[2] I-80S became I-76 in 1976.[25] Construction began on the section between I-76 and I-25 in April 1993 and was finished in September 1999, costing $11.4 million (equivalent to $18.9 million in 2022[24]).[2] The mileposts were already established when construction took place, so the route was not assigned new mileposts.[1] Completion of this portion largely decreased traffic problems in the area.[26][27]

Improvements

The bridges along westbound I-270 over Washington Street were replaced and finished in the late 1990s, costing $12 million (equivalent to $23.9 million in 2022[24]).[2] By the end of 1998, the bridges over Clear Creek near the I-76 interchange were completed. In February 2000, a connection between westbound I-270 and westbound US 36 was completed,[28] as was access between I-76 westbound and I-270 westbound.[2][29] The eastbound section between US 36 and I-76, including new bridges over Washington Street and Clear Creek, was completed in March 2002 and totaled $8.5 million (equivalent to $13.3 million in 2022[24]).[2][30] Three years later, a flyover ramp was constructed connecting I-25 southbound to I-270 eastbound.[2][31] However, access between I-270 eastbound and I-76 westbound still does not exist.[32][33]

Future

Citing its significance as a freight corridor, in 2002, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) recommended widening I-270 from four to six lanes by 2025,[34] and it later identified widening I-270 and rebuilding the I-270/Vasquez Boulevard interchange in its 2040 Fiscally Constrained Regional Transportation Plan.[35] CDOT also maintained an interest in widening the freeway through the 2000s and 2010s, though funding was not available.[36][37] In October 2019, they listed the study and reconstruction of I-270 from I-76 and I-70 among projects to receive funding from Senate Bill 17-267; the reconstruction would include toll lanes, and toll revenue would be used to cover costs not paid by SB 17-267.[38]

In early 2020, CDOT included widening I-270 between I-76 and I-70 in the first phase of projects of their 10-year vision.[39] The High Performance Transportation Enterprise, a business within CDOT, additionally ranked I-270 fourth among its top priority corridors for managed lanes, placing it after three segments of I-25 in the Denver metropolitan area.[40] CDOT began a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study of I-270 in April 2020, scheduled to finish in late 2021[41][needs update] but noted that budget cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could affect the project.[42]

Exit list

CountyLocationmi[1]kmExitDestinationsNotes
AdamsWelby0.0000.000
US 36 west (Denver–Boulder Turnpike) – Boulder
Continuation beyond western terminus
0
I-25 north (US 87 north) – Fort Collins
I-25 exit 217
1.100
0.000
1.770
0.000
1
I-76 east – Fort Morgan
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; mileposts reset at this interchange (the original western terminus of I-270); I-76 exit 6.
0.3850.620 I-76 / York Street – Fort Morgan, Grand JunctionWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; I-76 exit 6
Commerce City2.3583.7952 US 6 / US 85 (US 6 / Vasquez Boulevard) / SH 2Partial cloverleaf interchange; signed as exits 2A (north) and 2B (south); no access from NB Vasquez Blvd. to I-270 east
City and County of Denver4.5697.3534Northfield Quebec Street (SH 35)Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
5.3788.6555Central Park BoulevardEastbound exit and westbound entrance
5.9869.634
I-70 east (US 36 east) – Aurora, Limon
Eastern end of US 36 concurrency; eastern terminus; I-70 exit 279A; provides access to Denver International Airport
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Segment Descriptions for I-270". Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Interstate 270". 50th Anniversary of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Colorado Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  3. ^ "Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway". Google Maps. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  4. ^ Map of Adams County, Colorado (PDF) (Map). Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 14, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  5. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "Route 270B Straight Line Diagram" (PDF). Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  6. ^ "Mile Marker List for I-270". Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 16, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Microsoft; Nokia (January 23, 2011). "I-270" (Map). Bing Maps. Microsoft. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  8. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "Route 270A Straight Line Diagram" (PDF). Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  9. ^ "South Platte Cleanup". The Denver Post. May 10, 1997.
  10. ^ Colorado Highways Map (PDF) (Map). Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 1, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  11. ^ "Sand Creek Cleanup Shows Heart". The Denver Post. September 13, 2004.
  12. ^ Map of Commerce City, Colorado (PDF) (Map). Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 17, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  13. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "Classification List for I-270". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  14. ^ "Interchange Information for I-270". Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  15. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "Region List for I-270". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  16. ^ Map of Denver, Colorado (PDF) (Map). Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 17, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  17. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "About CDOT". Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  18. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "Traffic Information for Highway 270". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  19. ^ "Table 3: Interstate Routes in Each of the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. October 31, 2002. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  20. ^ National Highway System: Denver-Aurora, Colorado (PDF) (Map). Federal Highway Administration. March 2005. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  21. ^ Watrous, Mark U. (April 3, 1958). "Correspondence with Mr. A. E. Johnson, File No. 420". American Association of State Highway Officials. Retrieved April 2, 2022 – via AASHTO Route Numbering Archive.
  22. ^ Watrous, Mark U. (November 25, 1958). "Correspondence with Mr. A. E. Johnson". American Association of State Highway Officials. Retrieved April 2, 2022 – via AASHTO Route Numbering Archive.
  23. ^ Johnson, A. E. (February 26, 1959). "Correspondence with Mr. Mark U. Watrous". American Association of State Highway Officials. Retrieved April 2, 2022 – via AASHTO Route Numbering Archive.
  24. ^ a b c d Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved December 19, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  25. ^ "Interstate 76". 50th Anniversary of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Colorado Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  26. ^ "I-270 Link to US 36 Hailed as 1.1 Headache-Free Miles". Rocky Mountain News. Denver. August 16, 2003.
  27. ^ Flynn, Kevin (May 10, 2005). "Denver Gridlock Ranked 9th". Rocky Mountain News. Denver. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  28. ^ Auge, Karen (February 22, 2000). "Extension Eases I-270 Passage to US 36". The Denver Post.
  29. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  30. ^ "Metro area CDOT road projects". Rocky Mountain News. October 11, 2006. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  31. ^ Leib, Jeffrey (November 23, 2005). "Motorists can Fly from I-25 to I-270". The Denver Post.
  32. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "CDOT Transportation Fact Book 2006" (PDF). Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  33. ^ Colorado Department of Transportation. "Structure List for I-270". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  34. ^ Denver Regional Council of Governments (2002). "Fiscally Constrained Metro Vision 2025 Interim Regional Transportation Plan" (PDF). pp. 77, 109. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  35. ^ "2040 Fiscally Constrained Regional Transportation Plan" (PDF). Denver Regional Council of Governments. February 18, 2015.
  36. ^ Leib, Jeffrey (December 18, 2008) [First published 2005]. "Construction Projects to Hit Metro-Area Roads". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  37. ^ Luber, Jayson (July 14, 2016). "Driving You Crazy: Will I-270 across Commerce City ever be widened?". Denver 7. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  38. ^ Minor, Nathaniel (October 23, 2019). "Here Are 5 Big Road Projects On CDOT's Immediate Wishlist". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  39. ^ "Vision for Colorado's Transportation System: 10-Year Strategic Project Pipeline" (PDF). Colorado Department of Transportation. Spring 2020. p. 17.
  40. ^ "Colorado Express Lane Master Plan" (PDF). Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise. Spring 2020. p. 8.
  41. ^ "Project Process & Schedule". Colorado Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on August 12, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  42. ^ Minor, Nathaniel (April 16, 2020). "Here Are 5 Big Road Projects On CDOT's Immediate Wishlist". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved August 12, 2020.

External links