Photos: Construction alerts on Colorado highways this summer and beyond
We've all experienced the excitement of hitting the road for a much-deserved trip into the high country, followed swiftly by the disappointment of getting stuck in a traffic jam as a result of endless construction delays. To help drivers avoid such nightmares, the Colorado Department of Transportation has released details about forthcoming and ongoing projects. Check out the summer 2013 update, complete with CDOT-supplied photos, captions and text. With luck, the info should help you spend more time out of your car during your next getaway than stuck inside it.Construction:
"The interior of the eastbound I-70 tunnel bore after a recent blast that advanced excavation 13 feet from the east portal. Crews are 35 percent complete with the tunnel excavation."
The widening of eastbound I-70 from east Idaho Springs, through the Twin Tunnels, to the bottom of Floyd Hill is continuing around the clock. Widening is underway east of Hidden Valley with paving and median guardrail work through the end of July. Paving is scheduled for mid-July at the chain station on the west side of the tunnel. When paved, eastbound traffic will shift to the outside, allowing crews to begin work on the center median barrier. Also in July, new bridge girders are scheduled to be placed over Clear Creek, requiring left lane closures in both directions. Other progress:
•An average of six blasts and excavation of 50-60 feet from the east and 30-40 feet from the west each week.
• Construction of about 300 feet of retaining wall each week.
•About 460 feet of material excavated so far, roughly 72 percent of the total required.
Blasting/rock scaling are requiring 20-30 minute traffic stops and single lane closures most days for work east and west of the tunnel, including removal/setting of concrete barriers, construction of retaining walls, grading to widen the highway and staging equipment. Every effort is being made to maintain both lanes of the detour around the tunnel, but for the safety of the traveling public, it is sometimes necessary to close a lane so trucks can access the portal area to remove rocks and debris after blasting.
Another aspect of the Twin Tunnels project is the Design/CSS Process. Recent activities include:
• In May, project representatives including Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers, conducted a field inspection review of the Construction Package 3 elements, signifying 30 percent completion of this design package. This is the final construction package and consists mainly of restoring CR 314 back to the frontage road conditions that existed before the project began, doing the final grading at the portals and trailhead, and enhancing Clear Creek.
• Grading details at the tunnel portals are nearing completion and the focus is turning to landscaping.
• Project representatives continue working closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to conduct hydraulic modeling and develop details for the stream enhancement.
• Construction details of the stone veneer for the CR 314 retaining wall fascia are nearing completion.
"Rockfall mitigation above I-70 near Georgetown."
Rock mitigation work on Georgetown Hill is complete for the summer. No lane closures or traffic stops should be expected. The project resumes in late 2013. I-70 improvements from Edwards to Eagle are underway. The 17-mile segment wil be rotomilled and paved. The project also includes upgrading the bridge decks and curbs, new guardrails and expansion joints, drainage improvements and replacing the in-pavement weather sensors. Drivers can expect single lane closures 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, until the end of October.
CDOT begins installing fiber-optics along I-70 from Vail to Glenwood Springs this summer. This $16 million project will allow connectivity of Intelligent Transportation System devices such as roadway cameras and a Road Weather Information System (RWIS). RWIS sensors provide real-time weather and driving conditions such as visibility, temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed/direction, humidity and precipitation. By connecting the control centers at Hanging Lake Tunnel in Glenwood Canyon, the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels, and the Colorado Traffic Management Center in Golden, CDOT will be better able to predict conditions and inform the traveling public to improve safety and mobility. Drivers should expect occasional lane and shoulder closures during daylight hours, but only during non-peak travel times, Monday-Thursday. The $16 million project begins this summer, continues through late fall, stops for the winter, and resumes in spring. It is scheduled for completion fall in 2014.
"East Vail Pass bike path."
The east side of the Vail Pass bike path is getting paved this summer/fall. Along with the paving, the old timber bridges are being replaced, the path is being striped and new permanent signs will be installed. The path will remain open during construction (Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m) but flaggers will be stationed in the work areas to stop bike traffic as necessary to maintain safety for all users. Work is not scheduled on the weekends so bike traffic will be able to pedal unimpeded. Occasional lane closures will be required on eastbound and westbound I-70, allowing construction equipment to access the path in various locations.The project is expected to be completed in October 2013.
"Blue River bridge construction."
CDOT is widening State Highway 9 in Summit County between Agape Church and Coyne Valley Road. The work, started in June 2013, adds a second lane in each direction for about three miles between Breckenridge and Frisco. Construction also includes a new bridge over the Blue River, a roundabout at Fairview Boulevard, improved access to Highway 9, a new storm drainage system, upgraded embankments and erosion control. CDOT Resident Engineer Grant Anderson says, "Widening the highway will not only improve safety but it will also help traffic flow between the two towns. Traffic congestion and travel time will be reduced when the project is completed." Traffic impacts should be minimal for most of the work. Drivers can expect some lane shifts and occasional stops of about five minutes during work hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and until noon on Friday). The speed limit in the work zone is reduced to 45 mph. Work will shut down for the winter November 1, and resume May 2014. This $8.4 million project is expected to finish October 2014.
"Transrapid is a German-developed system, commercially available in Shanghai, with a lower cost than steel-wheel trains with tunnels. Also, it can climb steeper (7%) grades."
CDOT's Advanced Guideway System (AGS) Feasibility Study continues to move ahead with the Division of Transit and Rail issuing a Request for Financial Information (RFFI) to interested private-sector concessionaires and other possible financial providers. It was determined earlier this year that it was technically feasible for an AGS to effectively operate in the 120-mile segment of the I-70 Mountain Corridor from C-470 in Jefferson County to Eagle County Regional Airport. The RFFI is the next step in helping determine whether or not the system is financially feasible.
Financial providers are being asked to provide input regarding funding and financing components including items such as project-generated revenues, public funding, financing capacity, structure and costs. This information will be key in analyzing the likelihood of raising the necessary capital for an AGS by 2025. "Financial feasibility is the last piece in determining the overall practicability of an AGS along the I-70 Mountain Corridor," said CDOT's DTR Director, Mark Imhoff. "We're looking forward to private sector concessionaires and financial providers helping us determine whether or not Colorado can afford such a system."
CDOT has also been meeting regularly with the corridor communities to develop land use plans for potential station locations. A final determination on overall feasibility is expected in fall 2013.
"Inside the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel."
Continuous Flow Metering (CFM) will be used this summer at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels in heavy traffic conditions. This method is similar to the ramp metering used in the Denver metro area. Traffic is spread into four lanes with signals located above each lane. The signals alternate to efficiently regulate the flow into the tunnel. Signals cycle every 4-10 seconds so vehicles only have to stop briefly before being allowed to proceed. The hope is the continuous flow metering with brief stops will reduce the delays caused by traditional metering, which often required vehicles to stop up to 20 minutes at a time.
In June, the speed limit was raised in Mount Vernon Canyon. As a result of a traffic study conducted earlier this year, the speed limit on eastbound I-70 from Genesee to the bottom of Mount Vernon Canyon has increased from 55 to 65 MPH for passenger vehicles and from 35 to 45 MPH for semi-trucks.
The Courtesy Patrol program continues on the corridor this summer, through the Labor Day weekend. Drivers of passenger vehicles are provided free roadside assistance for services such as flat tires, fuel or water transfer, jump starts, short-distance towing, accident scene protection and minor mechanical problems.
Three pickups and a tow truck patrol I-70 between the top of Floyd Hill and Vail, looking for disabled vehicles. Truck personnel also respond to requests from the Colorado State Patrol, local police or the Eisenhower Tunnel. The program operates on weekends, July 4th and Labor Day
More from our Videos archive: "Videos: Watch I-70/Pecos bridge being built and moved in 90 seconds."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.