Hickenlooper’s DOT Casts Itself as the Hero in I-70 Propaganda Film

Colorado DOT has produced a half-hour documentary about Colorado DOT saving Elyria, Swansea, and Globeville from an old highway. How does Colorado DOT come to the rescue? By building an enormous new highway, of course!

This 30-minute piece of propaganda, called “Changing Lanes,” cost taxpayers $88,000 to make. The film was produced to fulfill federal historic preservation requirements, according to a CDOT spokesperson.

In the real world, environmental groups and many residents are telling Governor John Hicklenlooper they oppose adding four lanes to I-70 in north Denver, citing the additional traffic and pollution that widening the highway will induce.

In CDOT’s fantasy world, none of that matters. What counts is the small, four-acre park that will be built on top of a tiny portion of the sunken highway.

“Changing Lanes” wants to distance CDOT from the evil highway builders of the 1960s, who rammed I-70 through the city with little concern for the immigrant community that called north Denver home. In their place is Hickenlooper’s CDOT — portrayed as a consensus-builder that cares. Just look at all those handshakes and head nods at public meetings.

Unlike the bad old days, CDOT is now achieving “balance” (the film’s go-to euphemism for greenwashing). People being forced from their north Denver homes so semi trucks can get from Kansas to Utah faster? Balance. A massive 12-mile widening with a tiny 900-foot-long park on top? Balance.

So yes, the highway builders of the 1960s are gone. Is there any difference between them and their 2016 counterparts — other than a bigger PR budget?

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