Interstate 25 traffic and exhaust fumes Denver Colorado

Traffic on Interstate 25 in Denver.

Congestion, deterioration and fatalities on Colorado’s interstate highways is among the highest in the nation, according to a new report Thursday by the national transportation research nonprofit TRIP.

From 2000 to 2018, vehicle travel increased 17 times faster than the corresponding rate at which new lane capacity has been added, according to the analysis.

Colorado’s interstates were the third busiest and the 11th most-congested in the U.S.

Joey Bunch: The Colorado highway director Shoshana Lew's outlook comes from the intersection of infrastructure and finance, first at the Office of Management and Budget and then as the top transparency office in how the recession's stimulus money was spent on transportation, before a stint as the Rhode Island highway department's chief operating officer. 

"The tremendous use on the system has also led to increased deterioration on Colorado’s Interstate roads and bridges, with the share of both Interstate pavement in poor and bridges in poor/structurally deficient condition in Colorado the eighth highest in the U.S.," TRIP stated Thursday. "And, while the fatality rate on the state’s Interstate system is the 14th highest in the nation, travel on Colorado’s Interstate highways is nearly twice as safe as travel on all other roads in the state."

The report is titled "Restoring Colorado’s Interstate Highway System: Meeting Colorado’s Transportation Needs with a Reliable, Safe & Well-Maintained National Highway Network."

You can read the analysis by clicking here.

Colorado's transportation system has been idling at the crossroads of growth and politics for a long time. The solutions won't be easier or cheaper post-pandemic, but critical to the state's recovery and its prosperity, according to a new paper from two of the state's best-informed sources published Thursday by the Common Sense Institution policy think tank.

Colorado has struggled for years — at the ballot box and in the legislature — to find money to keep up with the state's fast growth. Under the Hickenlooper administration, the Colorado Department of Transportation cited $9 billion in needs.

“Despite a number of attempts, addressing our transportation infrastructure remains one of the most pressing problems for Coloradans,” said Tony Milo, executive director, Colorado Contractors Association. “With each passing year, solving the problem becomes increasingly expensive and more challenging. We simply can’t afford to ‘kick the can down the road’ any longer.”

California, Maryland and New Jersey ranked as the three most congested states. Hawaii, Delaware and Wyoming topped the least for worst pavement condition. Arizona, Mississippi and Texas had the deadliest interstate; and Colorado ranked 14th, just behind Alabama.

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