The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) took a step toward completing the Central 70 Project that will reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70, add one new Express Lane in each direction and lower the interstate between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards.
Construction crews worked to prepare for traffic to enter the new lowered section of I-70 between Colorado and Brighton Boulevards. Six lanes of I-70 traffic were moved from the existing viaduct to future westbound lanes of I-70, making way for demolition of a 57-year-old viaduct and the creation of future eastbound lanes of I-70 and 46 South Avenue, a press release reads.
From Friday May 21 to Monday May 24, the construction project closed eastbound and westbound I-70 between Washington Street and I-270.
“We are incredibly proud of everything our crews have accomplished since groundbreaking in August 2018 and over the (weekend of May 22) to make this historical shift happen,” said CDOT Project Director Bob Hays in a statement. “We want to thank motorists for their patience during this closure as we know that detouring around your normal route can be inconvenient, but we were able to perform critical work all while keeping motorists safe.”
Hays said in the May 24 release that CDOT is asking motorists to leave earlier than they normally do if they are planning on driving through between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards.
“It will take time for folks to get acclimated to their new surroundings over the next week or two and there will no doubt be slow-downs,” he said.
The next part of the Central-70 Project will be to demolish a near 60-year-old I-70 viaduct. It will be coming down over the next five months. Demolition is expected to occur during the daytime, and only local street closures and overnight I-70 lane and ramp closures will close for the next step in the project.
“The viaduct demolition represents Denver’s incredible growth over the past six decades. This demolition is a major transportation milestone, but also a moment to pause and reflect on how the Denver metro area has evolved since the 1960s,” said Hays. “We’re excited to start this next phase and continue to help contribute to the state’s future.”
During the demolition effort, CDOT plans to work to mitigate environmental impacts on surrounding businesses and residents. Netting and sound curtains will be installed to protect falling debris from damaging commercial or residential properties. Air monitors will be used to measure dust to ensure air quality meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.
For more information about the Central 70 Project, visit central70.codot.gov.