PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Traffic congestion on U.S. Highway 50 West between Pueblo and Pueblo West could be reduced if the state secures federal funds to improve the road.
The Colorado Department of Transportation will be requesting $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to add a third lane going west between Wills Boulevard and Purcell Boulevard. The county already has the money to build a third eastbound lane. Construction on that lane is expected to start in October.
"Anytime you have congestion on a corridor, you reduce the ability to have economic development. It's a deterrent to economic development," said Pueblo County Commissioner Liane "Buffie" McFadyen.
Highway 50 West is the fifteenth-most congested corridor in the state, according to McFadyen. And she said it's getting busier. Five marijuana businesses are located off of the highway-- four just began selling recreational marijuana.
"Pueblo County has allowed recreational marijuana and this is one of our busiest corridors for that type of business," McFadyen said.
Drivers are optimistic adding a third lane east and west will ease congestion.
"The two lanes probably are not enough. I mean, it's growing and people want to go to the lake and they want to see what's going on out here," said driver La'Urie Shandon.
"I think we'll be able to move through a little smoother," said driver Margarite Watson.
Drivers are expected to learn this summer if Colorado will get federal funds for a third westbound lane.