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Foothills Parkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Underpass

Project Purpose and Scope

The previous bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Foothills Parkway south of Colorado Avenue connected neighborhoods east and west of Foothills Parkway to the University of Colorado Boulder, schools, parks and other bicycle and pedestrian paths, lanes and sidewalks. The bridge was constructed in 1978 and was at the end of its service life, requiring more frequent maintenance, and did not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and other bicycle facility design guidelines.

This project provides an underpass crossing of Foothills Parkway for pedestrians and bicyclists that meets current guidelines and standards. The project includes connections to adjacent bicycle and pedestrian paths, signage, bicycle parking, and replacement landscaping and trees.

Project construction began in September 2019 and is now complete! The underpass is fully open to the public.

The Foothills Parkway bridge was removed Nov. 2, 2019 as part of construction on the new pedestrian and bicycle underpass. 

October 2020 footage of the completed underpass. 

Project Update - October 2020 --- Project is Complete!

Construction on the Foothills Parkway Bicycle & Pedestrian Underpass is now complete! The underpass provides a more direct, accessible crossing of Foothills Parkway, with less-steep slopes than the previous bridge, and improves connections to nearby bike and pedestrian routes, including to nearby Park East Park. It also features natural landscaping using local stone, energy efficient LED lighting and wayfinding signage.  Share your walk or ride through the new underpass with us! Tag @bouldercolorado and use #FoothillsUnderpass. Also, provide your feedback on Be Heard Boulder.

Project Update - September 2020

The pedestrian/bicyclist detour established in early September remains in place (travelers are encouraged to check out the new underpass itself prior to total project completion next month). Lane closures and traffic switches are planned for Foothills throughout the project's completion in mid-October. For up-to-date information on travel impacts from construction go to:

Project Update - August 2020

Concrete work is nearly completed and the crew are working on finishing touches. An estimate for full completion will be available next month. A new pedestrian/bicyclist detour will begin on  September 10  and last for a few weeks. The detour will be east of Foothills, and send travelers through the newly completed underpass. Look for on-site signage marking the updated route. Lane closures and traffic switches are planned for Foothills throughout September. For up-to-date information on travel impacts from construction go to:

Project Update - July 2020

Project construction is about ~85% complete! A new pedestrian/bicyclist detour will be in place later next month or early September to allow travel through the underpass as the crews continue additional trail, lighting and landscaping work. Detour details will be posted on this webpage. The project still anticipates the fully completed underpass to be open to the public in October. 

Project Update - June 2020

Construction crews are making excellent progress on east-side underpass construction. Next month's newsletter will feature Carolyn Braaksma, the artist who designed the panels within the underpass walls that mimic the meandering flow of South Boulder Creek. Learn more by reading the full interview with Carolyn pdf.

Project Update - May 2020

Foothills Bike & Pedestrian Detour Map Work continues on the east-side of the underpass, with the project nearly 3/4 of the way complete. The pedestrian and bicyclist detour will change on Tuesday, May 26 , with a shortened route available through Park East Park. See blue dashed route in graphic to the right.  On-site signage will direct trail users. This route will remain in-place until construction is completed, which is anticipated to be in October 2020.

Project Update - April 2020

Crews have nearly completed construction of the west-side of the underpass and will move to the east-side on May 7. Traffic on Foothills Parkway will shift to the west-side on this date as well to accommodate construction phasing. Temporary re-routing of cyclists and pedestrians to accommodate work on the Bear Canyon Creek Bridge will continue as crews make repairs to the trail. The project team will post an updated detour map to this page prior to the detour change.

Project Update - March 2020

Crews continue to make great progress on construction of the west-side of the underpass. Temporary re-routing of cyclists and pedestrians to accommodate work on the Bear Canyon Creek Bridge is anticipated to continue through mid to late April. The project team will post an updated detour map to this page prior to the change.

Project Update - February 2020

Temporary re-routing of cyclists and pedestrians to accommodate work on the Bear Canyon Creek Bridge continues. See green pedestrian detour route to the right.

Staff reminds all who frequent the area to be mindful of restricted areas and encourage children to steer clear of disturbing stakes and fencing. Construction site conditions can change day-to-day and therefore obeying signed restrictions prevents injuries. 

Project Update - January 2020

As of mid-January, the project is nearly one-third of the way completed.

Temporary re-routing of cyclists and pedestrians to accommodate work on the Bear Canyon Creek Bridge is in place. 

Project Update - December 2019

The bicycle and pedestrian detour is in place (see image below) and the overpass bridge was removed on November 2, 2019. 

See image below to view a rendering of the to-be-constructed underpass from the west side of the project at Park East Park.   ​Click images to enlarge them. 

Here is what to expect during the approximately one year construction period:

  • The underpass will be constructed in two phases.
  • Four lanes of Foothills Parkway will be open with occasional off-peak lane closures.
  • Beginning Friday, Dec. 13, the lanes are shifted to the east side to construct the west half of the underpass.
  • Once the underpass work on the west side is complete, vehicles will be shifted to the west side of Foothills Parkway and underpass construction will take place on the east side.
  • Park East Park will remain open during construction. 

Tree removal and relocations

The Transportation Division is working closely with the Forestry Division to minimize the number of trees needed to be removed for the construction of the underpass project.  The tree removal process will take a phased approach which began in mid-February 2019 and finishing in August 2020 when construction is anticipated to be completed. The work began in mid-February 2019 to minimize or eliminate impacts to nesting raptors during their upcoming nesting season.

The city will replant an equal number of trees around the city to replace those removed. Sixteen trees that have been removed were reloacted to Foothills Golf Course, Park East Park and the east end of the Civic Area, near the recently improved Arapahoe Underpass.

View the flyer on the tree removals. If you have questions, please call 303-441-3200. 

Review process

The Foothills Underpass will be located just south of Colorado.

The project has been reviewed through the city’s Community and Environmental Assessment Process (CEAP). The CEAP pdf assesses potential impacts of a public project to inform the selection and refinement of a preferred project alternative.

Following the consideration of community feedback and technical evaluation, the recommended underpass alternative is 1b. Participants in the public process generally favored this alternative. Alternative 1b will:

  • Improve mobility for all ages and abilities 
  • Maintain the neighborhood access for the various bicycle and pedestrian travel patterns
  • Provide a more direct crossing connection compared to other alternatives (does not require entry ramp loops and steep grades)
  • Provide access to the Wellman Ditch company for maintenance, which is also an improvement from existing conditions
  • Be constructed within the project budget and with a shorter construction duration compared to the other alternatives

1b also supports other factors such as directness of travel and connections to natural features. The new underpass will have a design life of 75 years and will meet current accessibility and bike facility design standards with less-steep slopes.

At the June 11, 2018, Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) meeting the Board held a public hearing and recommended (4-0) approval of the CEAP and the preferred alternative. The CEAP was forwarded to City Council for potential call-up by July 17, 2018 and the City Council did not call-up the CEAP. The project's preferred alternative will move forward into preliminary and final design. The project is anticipated to begin construction in 2019 and take one year to complete.

Learn more about the recommended alternative 1b and matrix evaluation for all alternatives pdf.

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For information, contact: Jenny Godwin ● Transportation Division ● 303-441-4934 ●  [email protected]

​Community Engagement

Past meetings: 

March 6, 2019: Open House and Final Design Information

Foothills Parkway Underpass Project Final Design and Construction Information pdf

May 3, 2018: 30th and Colorado Corridors Study + Underpass Open House

View project background and timeline pdf

View information on recommended alternative pdf

Feb. 7, 2018: 30th and Colorado Corridors Study + Underpass Open House

View Feb. 7 Meeting Materials pdf

View summary of public input from the Feb. 7 open house pdf

Sept. 25, 2017: 30th and Colorado Corridors Study + Underpass Open House

View Sept. 25 meeting materials pdf

View summary of public input from the Sept. 25 open house pdf