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"Here cometh April again; and, as far as I can see, the world hath more fools in it than ever."
– Charles Lamb, 
(1775-1834), critic and professor
  
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 4 April 2017  

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  CDOT holds second meeting on corridor study
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On March 2, the Colorado Department of Transportation held the second public meeting on the U.S. 24 Planning and Environmental Linkages Study at the Falcon Legacy Campus in Falcon. According to the CDOT website, the purpose of the study “is to identify and recommend transportation projects to improve regional and local mobility, improve intersection operations and enhance safety for all users along the corridor.”
   
   Andrew Stecklein, CDOT project manager, said the overall study is about 65 to 70 percent complete, and the portion in which projects and alternatives are identified is about 50 percent complete. The alternative selection process is done in a three-level decision-making matrix to narrow down the list from every possible option to the projects that will actually be undertaken, he said.
   
   “We are in the second level of the matrix, which means we are continuing to refine the alternatives,” Stecklein said. “We are still really honing in on the Highway 24 corridor as a whole system, from Powers east to the county line. The purpose is to evaluate that area as a complete system so that we can better integrate the projects with the projects the county might have in their sights, or private developers might have in their sights.”
   
   Stecklein said this process will allow CDOT to compete for funds in the long-term view, as opposed to dealing with problem situations as they arise. Having a plan that encompasses the entire Highway 24 corridor means the department has taken into consideration plans from other entities like El Paso County, Peyton, Ramah and Calhan; and received approval from the Federal Highway Administration before applying for funds, he said.
   
   “The PEL process that we are following is a federal process,” Stecklein said. “The federal government is contributing the vast majority of funds for most of our projects. They will not want to give away money for a project they know nothing about.”
   
   At the meeting, CDOT started with a presentation about the study and then directed everyone into small groups for a question-and-answer session. Stecklein said CDOT members knowledgeable in various areas of expertise were on hand to address the groups.
   
   Additionally, CDOT provided roll-out strip maps that focused on a different segment of the highway, Stecklein said. Within each section, additional information showed what each alternative project would look like, with two-to-four different views per segment, he said. “People could walk around and draw all over the maps to spell out exactly what they thought would be the most appropriate option, what they personally would like, or to highlight other areas they had not had a chance to let us know about,” Stecklein said. “We will never stop asking for those comments.”
   
   The Judge Orr intersection is a big concern for many people, he said. “We also had lots of comments about needing four lanes between Falcon and Peyton.”
   
   Stecklein said CDOT welcomes additional comments any time because the projects that result from the study have to be well-received by the public; he said those comments and concerns are at the forefront during the decision-making process.
   
   The next public meeting about the U.S. 24 PEL study will be held in June, and the department plans to present the first draft of the study recommendations.
   
   For additional information about the project or to submit a comment, visit the project’s website at http://codot.gov/projects/us-24-pel-study.
  
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