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  • Writer's pictureMariel Megan Ross

The future of the highway at Sterling Ranch's doorstep

Two Colorado ballot measures could provide funding for Highway 85/Santa Fe projects close to Sterling Ranch

As your Sterling Ranch real estate expert, I often follow legislation that might impact Sterling Ranch residents. A hot button legislative issue these days is the state of Colorado's road system - and if you're a Sterling Ranch resident, there's no more important road than Highway 85, also known as Santa Fe Drive. As the gateway to the community, I'm often asked what might happen to Santa Fe in the future. The answer? Well, it's complicated. That said, two November statewide ballot measures could provide clarity and play an instrumental role in shaping Santa Fe's future.

Ballot Measures

One ballot measure that impacts Santa Fe is called “Fix our Damn Roads” and would require the state to issue $3.5 billion in bonds without raising taxes and invest the money in specific road projects. Another measure called “Let’s Go, Colorado” will also appear on the November ballot and would increase the state’s sales-and-use tax in order to fund up to $6 billion in bonds for roads.

While the timing and details concerning the road projects that would be funded by both measures are limited at this time, "Fix our Damn Roads" specifically references the following project that would improve Santa Fe just south of Sterling Ranch:

"US 85, widening from C-470 to I-25 in Castle Rock (Louviers to Meadows), reconstruction of two lane roadway to four lanes with a divided median and acceleration/deceleration lanes and foot trail."

The portion of Santa Fe impacted by "Fix our Damn Roads"

In other words, if the "Fix our Damn Roads" ballot measure passes, specific funds will be allocated to widen Santa Fe to four lanes just south of Sterling Ranch. “Let’s Go, Colorado" doesn't have a specific list of projects it would fund, but it's certainly possible Colorado and CDOT would piggyback on the projects identified in the "Fix our Damn Roads" measure and allocate money to Santa Fe improvements, especially since CDOT considers Santa Fe a high priority project (more on this below).

Train Service

In addition to vehicle traffic, RTD FasTracks trains also run the length of Santa Fe. The last stop on the Santa Fe train line is about 10 minutes north of Sterling Ranch, close to Mineral. In the future, RTD plans to expand train service further south along Santa Fe, closer to Sterling Ranch. The Southwest Rail Extension will extend the train line 2.5 miles from Mineral Station to Lucent Boulevard in Highlands Ranch. Check out this Roundup post for more on the transformative rail extension - From Sterling Ranch to downtown Denver in exactly 31 minutes - even during rush hour.

Other Santa Fe Projects

This summer, CDOT began a $6.3 million project on Santa Fe between County Line Road (5 minutes north of Sterling Ranch) and Bowles Avenue. Known as the CO 177 and US 85 Roadway Improvements project, CDOT is installing ADA ramps, completing northbound milling and paving of Santa Fe itself, and replacing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks at various locations on Santa Fe. The project is expected to be completed this fall.

As noted above, CDOT has also earmarked the Sedalia to Daniels Park stretch of Santa Fe (approximately the same portion of Santa Fe that's identified by the "Fix our Damn Roads" measure and shown in the map above) as a high priority project. When funds become available, CDOT says it will add two lanes to the current two lane road (four lanes total when completed), add a divided median, add acceleration/deceleration lanes, and add a 10-foot-wide trail. The project is estimated to cost $49.5 million.

Last but not least, in 2017 the Highlands Ranch Herald reported on additional potential improvements to the stretch of Santa Fe just north of Sterling Ranch.

So there you have it - the future of the Santa Fe corridor next to Sterling Ranch. Regardless of what happens, there seems to be a great deal of focus on Santa Fe with potentially multiple projects in the works. I personally think this is great news!

Last (and perhaps least), our attorneys asked me to note that Focus Real Estate and the Sterling Ranch Roundup do not advocate for any particular legislation (and accordingly are neither for or against the two ballot measures), do not contribute to political campaigns, and are in no way affiliated with either measure or any other legislation. The Roundup's goal is simple - to keep Sterling Ranch residents informed!

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