With the full closure of Interstate 70 eastbound for a summer-long widening project at the Twin Tunnels just weeks away, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be resuming daily lane closures this week to allow for preparation work.
Drivers should expect delays starting today, with one lane closed on both the east and westbound sides of the highway from 9 a.m. to 6 a.m. Lanes will also be closed during the day Tuesday through Saturday on the east side of the tunnel to allow for electrical work and the construction of a concrete wall, according to a statement from CDOT.
The right eastbound lane will be the one most frequently closed, usually beginning in the early morning through mid-to-late afternoon. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane and the speed limit dropped to 35 mph while the lane closures are in place.
CDOT officials are also planning preparatory blasting roughly every three days, but information regarding the blast days and times will not be generally be available until the day prior to the start of operations.
Blasting generally requires full traffic stops in both directions lasting several minutes.
The transportation department is also completely closing the ramp from eastbound I-70 to Hidden Valley (Central City Parkway - exit 243) today for the next 10-11 days for roadway construction, assuming weather permits.
During the closure, crews will be decreasing the steepness of the ramp by 2 feet to tie into the detour route that will be used beginning in April when the reconstruction of the Twin Tunnels requires a full closure of eastbound I-70.
The work will continue 24 hours a day during the 10-day closure. Drivers will be directed an additional four miles east on I-70 to the Beaver Brook exit (247), enter westbound I-70 and return the four miles to the Hidden Valley exit.
I-70 westbound will remain open during the widening project. Eastbound traffic will be rerouted over an upgraded frontage road that runs parallel to the highway from April through October, when the project is slated for completion.
The project will widen the eastbound bore of the Twin Tunnels, allowing the highway to be expanded to three lanes to help ease skier congestion between Denver and the mountains on peak travel days.
Almost all the work is weather dependent.