CDOT: Big bump smoothing project goes smoothly on I-70
Ryan Summerlin October 25, 2012
A summer-long project to smooth out the uneven stretch of Interstate 70 affectionately known as the “big bump” is nearing completion, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said.
The project, which has closed one lane in each direction west of the Eisenhower Tunnel, is set to wrap up by the end of the month.
Drivers may still feel some waves in the roadway until crews put the finishing touches on the $2.5 million project.
Transportation officials say the work – which began in June – didn’t cause significant problems through the summer.
“Traffic impacts were pretty minimal,” CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said. “People were able to get through that work zone pretty smoothly. We were prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best and it did turn out pretty well.”
The big bump – a reoccurring disturbance in the highway – is caused by landslide activity underneath I-70. After years of paving over the problem area, CDOT implemented a long-term solution on the westbound lanes in 2010 that has proved effective. During this summer’s construction work, CDOT applied a similar fix to the eastbound lanes.
To eliminate the bump, crews drilled 187 holes 20 feet deep and 5 feet in diameter to remove 5-6 feet of asphalt, built up over years of repaving, and to gain access to areas with voids or unconsolidated materials. They then backfilled the space with a lightweight material intended to reduce the driving force on the landslide.
New drains were also put in place.
The project was supposed to be completed by September, but at the onset CDOT engineers conceded it could take longer.
CDOT engineer Peter Kozinski said the total duration of the project would be, “a function of how hard the drilling is and what we encounter down below.”
“That’s the big challenge of working up in the High Country, is that you never know what you’re going to hit,” Kozinski said.