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What is a PEL?

A PEL is defined as "an approach to transportation decision-making that considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the planning stage to set the stage for subsequent more-detailed project development, design, and construction. The PEL process is intended to lead to better decision-making and reduce the duplication of efforts in the following planning, development, and implementation of projects, including securing funding.

How will the PEL process work?

The PEL study will work with the public and community stakeholders to identify the various transportation deficiencies and needs along the SML corridor. The goal with this step is to understand the goals and values of communities along the corridor, how the transportation system currently functions, how it impacts communities, and how it can be improved now and in the future. Once these needs are identified, a series of alternatives will be developed to address the needs. The ability of these alternatives to meet project needs will be evaluated and considered, along with the effects on the communities and environment.

Some of the considerations that the study will address:

  • Are there locations with numerous vehicular crashes?
  • Are there recurring types of vehicular crashes or patterns of crashes?
  • What are other safety concerns along the corridor?
  • What kind of highway improvements would address the safety concerns? 
  • What is the best location and configuration for a regional trail for bicyclists and pedestrians, either along the highway or on a separate alignment?
  • How might a trail system better connect communities and provide access to recreational areas along the corridor?
  • How would byway-related improvements, such as cultural or scenic pull-offs, provide new attractions for visitors and connect with the trail improvements?


The project will look at current conditions and will also consider future conditions along the SML Corridor with respect to:

  • Community plans
  • Development plans
  • Transportation plans
  • Trail plans
  • Land management plans
  • Railroad operations

What happens after the PEL is complete?

After the PEL study is complete, CDOT and the local agency SCCOG will have a documented set of projects and an implementation plan, which they will use to identify funding for project design and implementation. The PEL's resulting "set of projects" will serve as a bucket-list of improvements that will be implemented along the SML Corridor over time as funding becomes available. The higher priority locations will likely be implemented first, but the goal is to eventually implement all of the projects identified in the PEL as conditions warrant and as funding becomes available, this will take many years.

PEL Final Study Report