Hickenlooper: Widening I-70 Will “Reconnect Communities”

John Hickenlooper didn’t start the I-70 boondoggle, but it’s on track to get built on his watch. And he seems fine with that. In fact, he comes across as proud.

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Highway Hick condones a massive I-70 expansion.

Hickenlooper has stayed quiet about the massive highway expansion project slated for north Denver, and his office took its time before responding to Streetsblog’s inquiry about his position on the project. But yesterday a spokesperson finally sent a statement to Streetsblog about where the governor stands.

Here it is, unabridged:

CDOT has been working in partnership with local communities for over a decade to find a solution to the growing infrastructure and congestion challenges facing the I-70 East corridor. This lengthy but important process has brought forward an alternative that will reconnect communities with a new highway cover and public space while also improving the safety and mobility of I-70 East for those that depend on it every day. CDOT’s continued collaboration with local residents and businesses will be critical as this project moves forward.

There you have it. A highway expansion that will saddle Denver with more traffic, sprawl, and pollution for generations gets the seal of approval from Hickenlooper because it will “reconnect communities with a new highway cover.” But the cover will cap a tiny fraction of the new, extra-wide road. In case you’re wondering, here’s what reconnecting communities really looks like, and it doesn’t involve gouging an enormous highway trench across the city.

The 13-year planning process that Hickenlooper cites is the same process that spurred fervent opposition, protests, and a lawsuit. It gave Denverites an ultimatum: Let Colorado DOT ram a 1950s-style infrastructure project through the neighborhood, or lose out on flood control and a decent place for kids to play.

The billion dollar boondoggle officially belongs to Highway Hick.