Colorado Spreading Highway Savings

Lower-than-expected bids from contractors on stimulus-backed transportation projects have led to about $36 million in savings that CDOT officials are using to fund additional projects.

Lower-than-expected bids from contractors on stimulus-backed transportation projects have led to about $36 million in savings that Colorado transportation officials are using to fund additional projects.

"Our contractors are proposing bids that are extremely competitive, and as a result we are realizing bid savings we hadn't anticipated," said Pamela Hutton, chief engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Earlier this year, CDOT received about $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the federal government for highway and bridge construction.

CDOT said that by the end of August it and local agencies had bid out 64 projects valued at about $264 million and, of those, awarded contracts for 41 projects worth $202 million.

The state must have 100 percent of the stimulus funds committed to projects by March 2. Federal stimulus money that is not "obligated" to projects by then may have to be returned to the government.

"With bid savings combined with other funds we have available, we can provide eight additional projects we otherwise would not have delivered to the state," Hutton said.

About $14.6 million of the savings was achieved in metro Denver, and the surplus will help cover the cost of one of the area's most important transportation improvements - replacement of the West Alameda Avenue bridge over Interstate 25.

CDOT had planned to use other money from its budget to supplement stimulus funds for the Alameda/I-25 project. But bid savings will allow nearly full funding of the venture with the federal stimulus money and allow CDOT to apply the supplemental money to other state needs, said agency spokeswoman Stacey Stegman.

Stimulus project bid savings also will pay for resurfacing and other improvements to Colorado 2 from East 62nd Avenue to Quebec Street in Commerce City.

Jeffrey Leib: 303-954-1645 or jleib@denverpost.com ------------ Additional projects

In other Colorado transportation regions, bid savings will help pay for:

Resurfacing 11 miles of U.S. 24 west of Limon

Resurfacing and other improvements to U.S. 50 in Pueblo County

Construction of the Veteran's Bridge pedestrian span along Pueblo's Riverwalk

Resurfacing Colorado 14 in Jackson County, Walden to U.S. 40

Resurfacing U.S. 34, Brush to Akron

Resurfacing 9.5 miles of U.S. 6 in Washington and Morgan counties

Resurfacing about 5 miles of U.S. 160, Shaw Creek to Del Norte in Rio Grande County


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