Congratulations, commuters: Kechter Road is open after more than 7-month closure

·2 min read

Construction crews were busy Wednesday putting the finishing touches on the rebuilt Kechter Road bridge and roundabout in anticipation of reopening the road across Interstate 25 in southeast Fort Collins for the evening commute.

For 7½ months, drivers have waited for this day to avoid heavily traveled Harmony Road to the north and Colorado Highway 392 to the south.

Kechter Road, a key commuter route connecting Larimer County Road 5 to Fort Collins, saw 11,000 daily vehicles before it was shut down Oct. 1. Additional development in the area since then will only add to the vehicle use.

A concrete truck drives on the newly rebuilt Kechter Road over Interstate 25 in southeast Fort Collins on Wednesday. The road was rescheduled to reopen later that day after being closed more than a month due to construction.
A concrete truck drives on the newly rebuilt Kechter Road over Interstate 25 in southeast Fort Collins on Wednesday. The road was rescheduled to reopen later that day after being closed more than a month due to construction.

The rebuild of the road's Buchanan Liberty Bridge over I-25 included lengthening the bridge to 226 feet to accommodate an additional toll lane in each direction of I-25 as part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's North I-25 Express Lanes project from Berthoud to Fort Collins.

Crews built new large retaining walls on both sides of I-25 to contain the widened footprint of I-25 and added to the bridge sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and bike lanes in both directions.

They also replaced a T intersection and stop sign where the Southwest Frontage Road intersects Kechter Road on the west side of I-25 with a roundabout to increase safety.

Funding in doubt: North I-25 not included on latest list  

The new bridge was raised slightly to allow raising I-25 while adding two new smaller bridges across I-25 just south of Kechter Road to span the floodplain and keep the interstate above a 100-year flood level.

There is no access to I-25 from Kechter Road. Harmony Road, a mile to the north, and Colorado 392, two miles to south, have access to I-25.

In 2016, the Kechter Road bridge was named Buchanan Liberty Bridge to honor veteran U.S. Marine Tom Buchanan of Loveland, who died the same year. The bridge was dedicated Memorial Day of that year.

Buchanan was active in veteran affairs and led groups of people waving flags from the bridge on special holidays and memorials.

North I-25 Express Lanes project: Why does it seem the project is taking so long? 

By the numbers: What it took to rebuild Kechter Road and bridge

  • 16,475 cubic yards of material, enough to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools, for the road embankment

  • 18 box girders, each 112 feet long, set for the bridge

  • 2,500 tons of asphalt

  • 27,697 square feet of retaining walls

  • 736 cubic yards of concrete for bridge construction

  • 158,069 pounds of reinforced steel, which is the weight of approximately 40 Ford F-150s

  • 756 linear feet of pile driven for the bridge foundations

Source: Colorado Department of Transportation

Reporter Miles Blumhardt looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at milesblumhardt@coloradoan.com or on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today. 

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Fort Collins' Kechter Road reopens after more than 7-month closure