A closed motel at 8th and Cimarron streets in Colorado Springs will be active briefly as workers take asbestos out and tear the building down.
Asbestos is a mineral used in electrical and building insulation. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer or other illnesses.
The Express Inn closed in 2011 after it temporarily rented rooms to the homeless. Windows and doors have been boarded up since then, and a security fence surrounds the building. The motel originally opened as a Holiday Inn.
Earlier this month, workers began sealing a wing of the motel with plywood walls and a plastic roof to keep asbestos fibers from escaping. Workers will wear protective equipment during the removal and take the asbestos to an approved landfill.
The Colorado Department of Transportation recently paid $1.1 million for the motel property after a bank foreclosure, said CDOT engineer and project manager Dave Watt. He said asbestos removal should be finished by the end of April, and the motel should be demolished by the end of June.
Asbestos removal will cost $450,000 and demolition $100,000, Watt said.
Watt said the property will be used for the future widening of U.S. 24 between Interstate 25 and Manitou Springs, and for a planned improvement of the interchange at I-25 and Cimarron.
Watt said some homeless people have continued to live in the building despite its closure. He said CDOT is trying to keep people out for their own safety.