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Publish Date: 10/29/2005

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Johnson’s Corner waitress Sophie Drost serves an order of food Wednesday to David Redford, left, and Mark Miller, who are from Kiowa and stopped at the restaurant after delivering cattle in the area. The owners of Johnson’s Corner, worried the Interstate 25 exit to the truck stop might close, have hired a political consultant and are starting a campaign to keep the exit open.Times-Call News Group photo

Johnson’s Corner lobbies to keep I-25 exit open


JOHNSTOWN — A potential land sale at Johnson’s Corner fell through because the would-be owner had concerns about future access off the interstate.

And now the owners of Johnson’s Corner, worried the interstate exit to the truck stop might close, have hired a political consultant and are starting a campaign to keep the exit open.

“We existed before the interstate,” said Chauncey Taylor, owner of Johnson’s Corner, southeast of Loveland. “The exit occurred because of us.”

State officials began an environmental-impact study for Interstate 25 earlier this year. Federal law requires the study before any improvements can be made to federal highways.

Officials began the study to see if the state can widen the interstate from Colo. Highway 66 in Longmont to Colo. 14 in Fort Collins.

As part of that study, the Colorado Department of Transportation will make recommendations about improvements to the road and interchanges. One of those recommendations could be to close Exit 254 to Johnson’s Corner, Taylor said.

Dave Martinez, a CDOT project engineer, said each exit in the study area — not just the one at Johnson’s Corner — would be evaluated closely.

“The goal is to make the whole system work correctly,” he said.

That could mean modifying, reducing or adding interchanges to that stretch of interstate, he said.

“No one is being singled out,” Martinez said. “Each one is going to be given a certain level of analysis.”

Transportation officials will start the planning process for each interchange in 2006. The next public meeting for the interstate study will be in January or February, Martinez said.

But Taylor said he’s still worried.

Johnson’s Corner recently lost a land sale to a truck-wash business because the owner was uneasy about the future of the exit, he said.

“Who wants to take the chance of locating out there when you might not have any access?” Taylor said.

The closest exits to Johnson’s Corner and the other businesses in the area are at Colo. 402, about a mile north, and Colo. 60, about two miles south. Taylor said he has talked with U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard and U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave about the situation and hired a political consultant. He said he plans to start a petition campaign against any proposal to close the exit.

 

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