Attention commuters: Get ready to learn some deep breathing techniques. You’ll need them, as the major overhaul of I-70—with all the attendant detours, demolitions and noise—is finally underway.
The project, estimated to take four to five years, will widen I-70 and rehabilitate the decaying viaduct between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards, among other issues.
The work comes after 15 years of planning and heated debate. “As the region continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, projects like Central 70 are important for providing regional mobility,” Ron Papsdorf, director of transportation planning for the Denver Regional Council of Governments, told the Denver Post. “As with any improvement project, there will be challenges during construction, but the region will benefit from improvements along this important corridor.”
Work will take place in three sections. According to the Denver Post, construction in the West section (I-25 to Colorado Blvd.) will include building a new Union Pacific railroad bridge and new street crossings and adding a sunken highway section to replace the current 1.8 mile viaduct. The sunken section will be three times wider than the section is currently, with four lanes in each direction.
The Central section (Colorado Boulevard to just east of Quebec Street) will see highway widening and rebuilding, as well as improvements to local cross streets.
And the East section (east of Quebec to Chambers Rd,) will involve highway widening, replacement of a flyover ramp from I-270 to eastbound I-70, and rebuilding of the highway bridge over Peoria St.
Other details of note:
- A 4-acre ground-level park will cover the sunken freeway next to Swansea Elementary.
- Contractor Kiewit Infrastructure Co. is required to keep three lanes open in both directions during the day, but there will be some night and weekend closures.
- Express lanes will ultimately allow a faster route for commuters willing to pay the fee. This will be free for vehicles carrying 3 people or more.