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#6: T-REX

Counting down Denver’s Top 10 Urbanism Achievements of the Aughts… at number 6 is the TRansportation EXpansion project.

T-REX was the nickname given to the massive highway reconstruction/light rail project that was so successfully adopted by the public that even though the project has been finished for over three years now, people still refer to the southeast light rail line as the “T-REX line”. Construction on the 19-mile-long project began in 2002 and wrapped up four years later, with the grand opening ceremony taking place on November 17, 2006. The T-REX project rebuilt Interstate 25 from Broadway in Denver to Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County. Rebuilt, as in completely from the ground up, including new underground utilities, new storm water drainage, new roadbed, new bridges at every interchange, new sound walls, new lighting, new landscaping, and new signage. As part of the reconstruction, several new lanes were added in each direction, including braided on/off ramps and transition lanes at several interchanges to eliminate conflicts between vehicles merging on and off the highway. Interstate 225, from its interchange with I-25 to Parker Road in Aurora, also received a substantial reconstruction and widening. Along both I-25 and I-225, double-track light rail lines were laid with 13 stations along the way.

For those of you who are a friend of DenverInfill on Facebook, I’ve just uploaded two albums totaling 100 photos of T-REX construction and the grand opening. To become a DenverInfill Facebook friend, use the link on the right sidebar. Here’s a sampling:

T-REX construction 1 T-REX Construction 2

T-REX Construction 3 T-REX Construction 4

T-REX Opening 1 T-REX Opening 2

T-REX Opening 3 T-REX Opening 4

T-REX represents an excellent example of cooperation between CDOT and RTD, between Denver and its neighboring cities and counties, and a comprehensive multi-modal approach in making transportation investments.

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6 Comments

  1. Stosh says:

    I think this stretch of I-25 is much improved over it’s previous state and the lightrail is overall a great addition to the area. With that said I feel that the contractors were in such a hurry to finish sooner than they had estimated to recieve the bonuses or additional money associated with doing so, that they cut corners and instead of the project really adding a visual element to the driving experience, they 100% focused on the utilitarian aspect. What has been created is a cement jungle with little visual appeal. When driving along this stretch it does not feel like you are in colorful Colorado, rather more like colorless Colorado or anywhere USA. Also, considering we experience 6+ months of cold weather I am dissapointed with the light rail “shelters”. If we want to encourage use of light rail and busses, we must make it a pleasurable experience, and waitng in the cold for light rail next to I-25 with no real shelter or warmth is not inticing enough to leave my car behind. I do appreciate the art the has been incorporated into many of the stations however I-25 feels stagnant and without personality. Paint, Murals, and additional landscaping would go along way. Also, if our popultaion continues to grow and DTC continues to add buildings, widening this stretch in the future will be very difficult the way it was constructed. In the short term it makes for a much better drive than before.

  2. Michael Malak says:

    Rail parallel to a limited access highway — and even parallel to freight rail — is kind of pointless since there is so little in the quarter-mile or half-mile radius “ped shed”. What little is not taken up by the adjacent infrastructure is used only by low-value establishments and residences that reluctantly agree to be located directly adjacent to a noisy transportation corridor.

    Rail, preferably subway, should have been the priority along Broadway and Colfax.

  3. BeyondDC says:

    Running light rail along the highway was unfortunate, but missing DTC was a crime. They should have deviated from the highway and run the trains along Ulster Pkwy. It doesn’t matter how much it would have added to the cost or how much it would have slowed trains; that’s where the riders are. You’ve got to go there.

    That having been said, poorly placed light rail is better than no light rail.

  4. peter says:

    I have two complaints about this project. One is that I think we were sold two additional through lanes of traffic. At Hampden there was only one more lane of traffic added in each direction to total four. It doesn’t seam to matter how wide the highway is through the DTC, there is a bottleneck at Hampden.

    The second issue is that it takes too long to get from Lincoln to downtown on the train. There are simply too many stops and not enough room for an express line.

  5. not a fan of CDOT says:

    The one black eye of TREX is that they didn’t finish the job in my opinion. At the broadway bridge where santa fe meets I25 it actually to 3 lanes for a bit.

    What a bottleneck and what poor planning and focus of transportation $$s.

    Get it right Denver. Lets grow up and become a big city with big city solutions that aren’t half or 3/4 baked.

  6. james says:

    the broadway bridge was not part of trex, they do need too move on too trex 2- broadway too colfax- that part of freeway needs work on.