If you hit the road this weekend, avoid Interstate 70 in Denver's Central 70 construction zone. Through 5 a.m. Monday, May 24, eastbound and westbound I-70 will be closed between Washington Street and Interstate 270 so that Colorado Department of Transportation crews can execute what the agency has dubbed the "Mile High Shift."
That process entails repositioning all six traffic lanes between Colorado and Brighton boulevards into a lowered section covered by what will eventually be a four-acre park, and there will be more shifts ahead until the project is completed.
In their comments on the Westword Facebook page, readers are already looking ahead...and behind. Says Andrew:
Denver’s gonna look a lot different after this is done. As old and crappy as it was, the viaduct was one of the few fading reminders of the Denver of my youth. I used to love cruising under the highway on warm summer nights with my friends. It was another time.
I remember last year when everything was locked down and it was great to drive places.
I've gotten stuck on I-70, and I don't want to go near it for the next few months.
These crews are totally kicking ass on this project. I'm astonished how quickly it's getting done....They're doing very well.
Man, it’s nothing different than what happened on I-25 for Trex, I-225 or 470 or 36... it’s just a step in the path... if media outlets would stop fear-mongering and just tell people the best ways to either navigate or avoid the issue it would be a lot less of a nightmare...
But then there's this from Sarah:
Thanks for the heads up! Flying tomorrow morning. Going to take the train out there now instead.
And this from Kurt:
I live between Colorado Boulevard and Steele on 39th, so in the thick of this whole project. It hasn’t been bad at all; all changes are communicated and posted, and it just takes a little planning before leaving to make sure there are no issues.
I also was on a public call last week that had CDOT, the city and the construction company on it where the public could ask questions and they gave great info and updates. For a project of this size and scale they have honestly handled it well. Yes, there has been delays and hiccups but again, for a project that is redoing fifty years of what has been, kudos to them.
Stick to your typical articles of just lists, Westword: Actual journalism isn’t your strong suit.
Wonder what will happen after the Mile High Shift? In an act of journalism, we asked CDOT, and spokesperson Stacia Sellers offered this: "We're shifting into a temporary configuration. There are six lanes of traffic — three eastbound, three westbound — in the lowered section, and we're putting them in a place that will allow us to go in and start demolishing the viaduct between Colorado and Brighton. That should take us four to five months to accomplish, and once the viaduct is demolished, we'll start building out the eastbound lanes. That should take another fourteen months, and then we'll switch the eastbound lanes into their final configuration. All traffic will be in its final alignment by the end of next year."
What do you think of the Mile High Shift? The Central 70 project in general? Do you think CDOT will hit the late-2022 deadline? Post a comment or email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.