544 Rood Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501
P.O. Box 20,000
Grand Junction, CO 81502-5001
29 Road Interchange at I-70 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study
This Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study was conducted in 2018 through 2020 to investigate the need and overall vision for improved access to I-70 between Horizon Drive and I-70B in Grand Junction.
An interchange at 29 Road has long been identified in many local and regional plans as a way to enhance local and regional connectivity, as part of a larger plan to provide connections in and around Grand Junction. Mesa County and the City of Grand Junction have been partnering on transportation improvements to support this connectivity for decades, including completion of Riverside Parkway and the project to carry 29 Road over I-70 Business Loop and the UPRR railroad. The city and county are continuing their partnership through this study to determine the best way to provide enhanced access to I-70 northeast of downtown Grand Junction.
The PEL Study has developed a thorough understanding of the existing and future transportation conditions and economic development opportunities within the project area. Throughout the study process, Mesa County and the City of Grand Junction are working closely with agency stakeholders, area stakeholders, and members of the public to identify issues and opportunities related to improving I-70 access at or between the Horizon Drive and I-70B interchanges.
Following a detailed alternatives analysis process, the study recommended a new 29 Road interchange at I-70, along with a roadway connection to the north of I-70 and improvements on 29 Road between I-70 and Patterson Road. Mesa County and the City of Grand Junction have secured funding for an environmental clearance study of the recommended improvements. This effort is a next step needed to confirm the proposed action, which will include public input opportunities. Timing of the environmental study is yet to be determined. Funding for the interchange construction and related 29 Road improvements has not yet been identified, so timing of construction is uncertain.
Watch this short video used for the August 2020 online public meeting to learn about the study process, alternatives evaluation, draft study recommendations, and next steps.
This transportation study was conducted using the PEL process. The PEL process is a study approach used to coordinate transportation planning efforts and to identify potential transportation benefits and impacts and environmental concerns, which can be applied to make planning decisions. PEL studies link planning efforts to future environmental processes and result in valuable information that may ultimately be used to prepare a NEPA study and project design.
Public Meeting #1: February 28th, 2019
Public Meeting #2: Online August 6 – 27, 2020
Please click on the titles to view additional information
What is Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL)?
PEL is a study process approach that is typically used to identify potential transportation benefits and impacts, along with environmental concerns, in a corridor or a specific location. It is generally conducted before overall project construction funding and phasing is identified, and before specific problems and solutions are known.
PEL studies can be used to make planning decisions and for planning analysis. These decisions and analyses, for example, can be used to identify and prioritize future projects, develop the Purpose and Need for a project, determine project size or length, and/or develop and refine a range of alternatives for improvements.
The PEL study process can be helpful in discovering needs and desires and garnering project support for an overall vision when a project involves multiple jurisdictions, and can be used as a prioritization tool.
PEL studies should be able to link planning efforts to environmental processes and result in useful information that can be carried forward into the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The adoption and use of a PEL study in the NEPA process is subject to determination by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Visit the Colorado Division of Transportation (CDOT) website for more information about CDOT’s Planning and Environmental Linkages Program.
The study area for this study includes I-70 between the existing adjacent Horizon Drive and I-70B interchanges and the north-south arterials of 29 Road, Horizon Drive, and I-70B from Patterson Road to I70.
Key Elements of the Study
- Identify the transportation vision and Purpose and Need for improved access to/from I-70 at or between Horizon Drive and I-70B. Complete the study in accordance with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) process, including:
- Public outreach
- Direct involvement with local governments, community groups, and stakeholders within the interchange study area
- Coordination with state and federal resource agencies
- Documentation of study process, findings, and recommendations to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) standards, so information can be utilized or referenced in future NEPA documentation
- PEL study documentation for FHWA concurrence
- Identify existing and potential future transportation conditions and economic development opportunities within the study area.
- Evaluate the potential benefits and impacts of additional interchange access along I-70.
- Identify initial improvements that may be completed prior to construction of the full ultimate improvements.
- Estimate conceptual cost of recommended transportation improvements.
Project Purpose and Need
The purpose of the project is to enhance the region’s transportation network to improve local and regional connectivity and to provide enhanced access to/from I-70 to planned land use.
Improved access to I-70 is needed to:
- Address limited transportation network connectivity with no central north-south arterial corridor with access to/from I-70; and
- Provide transportation infrastructure needed to support planned land use adjacent to and north of I-70.
Anticipated Project Benefits
- A new interchange along I-70 between Horizon Drive and I-70B would provide a new direct connection between US 50 and the state’s major east-west route – I-70.
- A new interchange would provide improved access to and from I-70 for residents and businesses to the south, potentially reducing trip lengths and traffic congestion on other routes.
- A new interchange would create an opportunity to integrate development near the Grand Junction Regional Airport into the surrounding community.
- It is envisioned a new interchange would spur new economic development in the Grand Valley, opening direct and convenient access to the commercial property north of I-70, as well as leading traffic to businesses along Patterson Road and North Avenue.
Public and Agency Participation
Understanding the ideas, perspectives, and needs of key stakeholders in the study area is critical to building broadly supported decisions and solutions. Multiple opportunities were provided for agency partners, area stakeholders, and the general public to engage and inform the study. The public and agency outreach included the following:
Public Engagement: The general public was actively engaged to provide meaningful input on area issues, project vision, evaluation of potential project benefits and impacts, and draft recommended improvements. In addition to an in-person and an online public meeting, presentations to groups and elected officials occurred throughout the study to provide two-way information sharing.
Technical Team (TT): The TT met with consultant representatives to provide technical input throughout the study. The TT included staff from the local communities of Mesa County and City of Grand Junction, agencies including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Grand Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (GVMPO), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Grand Junction Regional Airport. TT members kept their respective elected officials updated.
Public input is critical to making smart decisions for the 29 Road Interchange at I-70 PEL Study. Submit your comments or questions here. All comments will be documented and used to help make project decisions.
Kevin King, Mesa County Project Manager
Phone: (970) 255-7147
Trent Prall, City of Grand Junction Public Works Director
Phone: (970) 256-4047
Stephanie Reecy, Mesa County Public Information Officer
Phone: (970) 244-1755