COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Drivers who regularly travel the mile-long stretch on Interstate 25 between Fillmore street and Garden of the Gods Road dread the daily traffic bottleneck there, that can worsen already-heavy traffic congestion.
However, the bottleneck decreases as you drive away from that stretch, and traffic suddenly opens up for easier driving.
The situation has led the Colorado Department of Transportation to conduct a design study on whether more lanes could be added to that section of the freeway.
Mitch Holck, a CDOT engineer, said that adding a continuous auxiliary lane on the right side in each direction would give drivers more time to merge in and out of traffic; backups occur when approaching traffic slows down for the merging vehicles.
The targeted stretch would continue to have three through lanes of traffic in each direction.
The situation is happening despite CDOT's recent installation of traffic signals called ramp meters on several entrances to the interstate, designed to keep too many vehicles from merging at the same time during peak traffic periods.
"We're looking at the best way to accommodate that aux lane in our design," Holck said. "We're not really sure what it's going to look like yet. But that's part of our study, is what's the best way to add that aux lane."
Aux lanes are already in place on I-25 at exits north of Garden of the Gods Road to the Douglas County Line.
Holck said that CDOT also wants to repave I-25 in the study area and replace an aging bridge over Ellston Street. The aux lanes, repaving and bridge replacement would cost around $40 million.
"We'd pay for it with funding provided by state lawmakers this session," he said. "That corridor is very narrow and we're limited in how we can improve it, but we're trying to do the best we can.
CDOT should finish the study by the end of summer and if design criteria are approved, construction could start next summer and take less than a year to complete. Holck said that the agency intends to keep all traffic lanes open during construction.
Drivers who spoke with KRDO NewsChannel 13 on Thursday said that they like the idea but want to see a similar I-25 project on the south side of the city, between Circle Drive and the town of Fountain. That stretch also has a traffic bottleneck.