The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) embarked on a project in the 1990s to widen Highway 287 between Broomfield and Laporte to two lanes in each direction. In just the past couple of months, the work has begun on the last piece of that project — between Highway 1 (Terry Lake Road) and the Laporte Bypass (where 287 and 287B diverge). Work will continue through 2018 at a cost of $21 million. The goal is to improve traffic flow through that segment of the highway as well as provide safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.


The above image, from Google Maps, gives a sense of current conditions. There is no sidewalk on either side of the road. The shoulder seen at left is wide enough to work as a bike lane, but the shoulder to the right is mostly dirt. The south bound lane (at left) appears to be about 15 feet wide, but the north bound lane is closer to 13 feet. And if someone needs to turn off onto a driveway or business, traffic has to slow down or stop behind them until their turn is completed.

The hill that can be seen at right is the berm that forms the southwest boundary of Terry Lake. It would be nice if a sidewalk along that side of the road would be raised to the point where pedestrians could enjoy walking along the edge of the lake. But the CDOT website doesn’t include specifics. (At least, not that I could find.)

CDOT will be adding an additional travel lane in both directions (12 feet wide each), a center turn lane (16 feet wide), a combined 10 foot wide bike lane and shoulder on either side, and detached sidewalks that will be 7 feet wide. (See the Streetmix views at top to get an approximate sense of how the street will change.)


In addition to widening the road, CDOT will also be adding a 228-foot roundabout at the junction of Highway 287 and 287B. (A roundabout that wide is called a “Rural Double Lane Roundabout.” I had no idea there were classes of roundabouts, but I found that terminology in a Federal Highway Administration document.) The roundabout should reduce wait times, increase safety, and still work just fine for the large number of trucks that pass through that area on a daily basis.

This work is all within the Growth Management Area of the City of Fort Collins, which means that though the State is paying for the work to be done, the City will get the benefit as this land is annexed. And the improvements to N. College, this section of Highway 287, and N. Shields will all help to make the north side of town far more accessible to the rest of the city and possibly spurring growth in this direction.

To get email alerts about upcoming lane closures (which CDOT claims they will be keeping to an absolute minimum as most of the work will be done along the side of the current roadway) you can sign up in the right hand column of the page for this project on the CDOT website.



This map of 287 was taken from the Wikipedia page on the highway.

This map of 287 was taken from the Wikipedia page on the highway.

As I considered the scope of this project, from Broomfield up to Laporte, I got to wondering just how long Highway 287 is exactly. It turns out it’s 1,791 miles long from stem to stern with a gap through Yellowstone National Park.

Wow! I had no idea.