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Group Opposed To I-70 Expansion Plan Says Their Proposal Is Better, Less Expensive

By Tom Mustin

DENVER (CBS4) - The rubber is hitting the road in the battle over Interstate 70.

"Sometimes our government officials don't make the right decisions for us," said a member of the group Unite North Metro Denver.

Wednesday night the group held a town hall meeting to discuss their proposal to replace the crumbling 50-year-old viaduct along I-70. More than 100 people attended.

Thad Tecza told CBS4's Tom Mustin their plan involves shifting I-70 north from Central Park Boulevard to Wadsworth Boulevard.

I-70 EXPANSION Unite North Metro Denver
Unite North Metro Denver's plan (credit: CBS)

"Routing through traffic around the city at I-270 and I-76 and replacing the city with an urban boulevard as many other cities are doing," Tecza said.

The problem is the Colorado Department of Transportation has already spent 13 years and millions of dollars designing its own plan set to break ground in 2017. CDOT's Rebecca White says the proposal would add one lane in each direction of I-70 for a 10-mile stretch, including a two-mile area with a covered park. White says other proposals are too expensive.

I-70 Interstate 70 Planning 2
An artist's view of the CDOT proposal shows a portion of I-70 going underground. (credit: CDOT)

"We feel confident in the proposal we're putting forth. We'll continue to seek public input. We've done analysis in what they're proposing and found it's not reasonable," White said.

Tecza says CDOT's plan would destroy the Elyria-Swansea and Globeville neighborhood. White says it would bring the areas back together. CDOT says the rival plan would cost "billions" more. Tecza disagrees.

"Every engineer we talked to says our proposal would cost less than half of theirs," Tecza said.

Both sides agree the interstate is crumbling and needs attention now.

"We built the interchange in the 60s for the 80s and it's 2016," said White.

But Tecza says the answer to how the road will be fixed may be decided in court.

"Ultimately there is litigation and a federal judge," he said.

CDOT will host three more town hall meeting next week.

LINK: Unite North Denver

Tom Mustin is CBS4's Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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