Drivers traveling the Interstate 70 mountain corridor may meet with delays, lane closures and traffic stops this week as crews remove rocks in danger of falling on the highway and continue preparation for a major construction project his summer.
The work will impact traffic in both directions at Georgetown and Idaho Springs, starting today and continuing through the week, according to a statement from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
One eastbound lane of the two-lane highway will be closed at the Twin Tunnels, just east of Idaho Springs, during the day today through Friday. Eastbound traffic will also be stopped for 20 minutes at a time once an hour for rock-scaling operations in the same location this week.
The speed limit will drop to 35 mph while lanes are closed.
CDOT will also stop traffic roughly once every three days for blasting, in preparation for a highway-widening project that will completely close the eastbound lanes from April through October. Information regarding the blast days and times will not generally be available until the day prior to the start of operations.
Blasting generally requires full traffic stops in both directions lasting several minutes.
Rockfall mitigation - the process of removing rocks that threaten to fall on I-70 - will also cause 20-minute traffic stops and lane closures primarily on the westbound side of the highway. Stops are expected to take place twice each hour Tuesday and Wednesday in both directions.
Crews will be working in the area today, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to sunset, causing delays between Georgetown and Silver Plume.
The transportation department has also completely closed the ramp from eastbound I-70 to Hidden Valley (Central City Parkway - exit 243) days for roadway construction. It is tentatively set to reopen by the end of the week.
During the closure, crews are decreasing the steepness of the ramp by 2 feet to tie into the detour route to be used beginning in April when the reconstruction of the Twin Tunnels will require a full closure of eastbound I-70.
I-70 westbound will remain open during the roughly $100 million widening project. Eastbound traffic will be rerouted over an upgraded frontage road that runs parallel to the highway during the work.
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.
All work scheduled this week is weather dependent.