WestConnect Coalition Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study

Traffic operations and safety are an increasing concern along the C-470/US 6/SH 93 corridor.  The C-470, US 6 and SH 93 corridors have a long history of discussion and debate by agencies and public interest over needed improvements, facility type and traffic operations.  In response to these growing challenges, the local agency stakeholders came together to create the WestConnect Corridor Coalition. The Coalition then worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to initiate this Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study.  

This 18-month study will evaluate and develop short-term and long-term transportation alternatives and will identify proposed improvements along C-470, between Kipling and I-70, and along the US 6/SH 93 corridor between Golden and Boulder. The PEL study will evaluate options to:

  • reduce congestion;
  • improve operational performance and safety; and
  • address future transportation needs.  

As part of the study process, public, environmental, and resource concerns and opportunities in the corridor will be identified and used to develop alternatives to address capacity restrictions and safety.  The PEL study will include documenting the goals, objectives and visions of various jurisdictions for the corridor and will work with stakeholders and the WestConnect Coalition to develop an agreed upon list of prioritized projects to move towards implementation.The key objectives of the PEL study are to:

  • Conduct public outreach and coordination with Local, State and Federal Resource agencies
  • Identify existing and future issues and problem areas in the corridor from operational, mobility, maintenance, and safety perspectives
  • Identify natural resource and/or environmental agency concerns
  • Consolidate and address jurisdiction priorities and plans
  • Develop alternatives to address the short-term and long-term needs and consider potential funding sources
  • Prepare a prioritized list of proposed improvements
  • Establish cost estimates for the WestConnect Coalition to use when seeking project funding
  • Develop next steps, an implementation plan, and potential funding options. 

This transportation study will be conducted using the PEL process.  The PEL process is a study approach used to identify transportation issues and environmental concerns, which can be applied to make planning decisions and for planning analysis.  PEL studies link planning to environmental issues and result in valuable information that may ultimately be used to prepare a NEPA study and final design.  

What is the WestConnect Coalition PEL Study area and schedule?

The study area for the WestConnect PEL is defined as C-470 from Kipling to I-70/US 6 in south Jefferson County, US 6 from C-470 to SH 58/SH 93 in Golden, and SH 93 from Golden to Marshall Road (SH 170) in Boulder County. Major arterial intersections and interchanges along the corridor will also be included. Click here for a graphic of the study area.

This PEL study is expected to take approximately 18-months to complete. Click here for the current study schedule, which outlines major work tasks and study milestones.

What is PEL?

PEL is a study process approach that is typically used to identify transportation issues, along with environmental concerns, in a corridor or a specific location.  It is generally conducted before any project construction 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. 

The PEL process can be helpful in discovering needs and desires when a corridor crosses multiple jurisdictions, and can be used as a prioritization tool.  For example, a PEL study for a corridor could result in identification of multiple potential projects (i.e., capacity improvements for a portion of a corridor, and intersection improvements).  Those can then be prioritized for implementation.

PEL studies should be able to link planning to environmental issues 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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Click here for more information about CDOT’s Planning and Environmental Linkages Program.

WestConnect Coalition PEL Public & Agency Participation

Understanding the ideas, perspectives and needs of key stakeholders in the corridor area is critical to building broadly supported decisions and solutions. The study will include multiple opportunities for the local jurisdictions, regional partners, and general public to engage and inform the study.

The public and agency outreach plan includes the following:

Broad Public Outreach:

The general public will be actively engaged, ensuring meaningful input is provided on the corridor issues, vision, alternatives development and screening, and priorities for the phasing of recommended improvements.

Public Involvement Events:

  • Nov. 9, 2016: Telephone Town Hall Meeting #1
  • Public Open House Meetings - Round #1
  • Spring 2017: Telephone Town Hall Meeting #1
  • Summer 2017: Public Open House Meetings - Round #2
  • Three public meetings were held in January 2018 to present the draft study recommendations for public review. Wall graphics and handouts from the meetings are available here, along with four short videos describing the alternatives screening process and study recommendations by corridor segment. Please provide your comments here.
    • Tuesday, Jan. 16:
      Golden Community Center
    • Wednesday, Jan. 24:
      Three Creek Elementary School Gymnasium, Arvada
    • Thursday, Jan. 25:
      Ken Caryl Ranch House, Littleton

Technical Working Group (TWG):

The TWG is comprised of corridor communities’ technical staff representatives. This group will meet frequently (expected every six to eight weeks) with consultant representatives to provide technical input as the study progresses.  The members of the TWG will keep their respective elected officials updated and will serve as the primary connection with their communities or organizations.

Coalition Steering Committee:

The WestConnect Coalition Steering Committee is comprised of elected officials and high-level staff from the local communities. The Steering Committee is anticipated to meet with study team representatives at seven points during the study process. For a list of Steering Committee representatives and upcoming/past meetings, see the Coalition Members page. Steering Committee meetings are open to the public, however, public participation is limited to observation of meeting proceedings, with a brief period allotted at the end of each Steering Committee meeting for public questions and comments. 

Additional Resources

Project Contact: Ben Davis, CDOT Project Manager, benjamin.davis@state.co.us

General Project Information/Commentswestconnectcoalitionpel@state.co.us

CDOT Project Web Page: westconnectpel.codot.gov

Click here for PEL Frequency Asked Questions.