CDOT slate full for summer 2013 |

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CDOT slate full for summer 2013

Daily file photo The Twin Tunnels project near Idaho Springs will consume a good portion of next year.

Many of the road projects Summit County has been buzzing about for years are finally on the calendar – most of them for next summer.

If funding becomes available, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be tackling the last segment of the widening project on Highway 9 between Farmer’s Korner and Breckenridge, and a widening project at the Twin Tunnels on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs is already on the docket.

“There’s a lot of cool work coming up,” Summit County assistant manager Thad Noll said. “It’s fantastic to get all of this stuff done. The downside is all that stuff’s getting done, and that means a lot of traffic impacts.”

The $60 million Twin Tunnels widening project – approved late last year to help alleviate a bottleneck for Sunday afternoon traffic returning to Denver during peak season – will require a full closer of eastbound I-70 starting in March and continuing through Halloween of 2013.

“We think (it) is critically important to start to get some improvements on I-70,” Doug Aden, the Western Slope representative to the Colorado Transportation Commission, told the Summit Daily last year.

Through the spring, summer and part of the fall next year, eastbound traffic will be routed over a small frontage road near the Interstate, transportation officials said.

The work is expected to have additional impacts on Summit County with Highway 285 set to be among the suggested alternative routes.

“That brings people to Fairplay and then to Hwy. 9 through Breckenridge and back out to I-70,” Noll said. “We’ll be working with CDOT on a traffic plan for all of those summer projects.”

Periodic stops and traffic delays have already started near the Twin Tunnels, but the impacts have generally been limited to nighttime thus far.

As CDOT crews continue to conduct geological work through the winter, there may be more frequent daytime stops as well.

“There are going to be some impacts,” CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said. “Not three or four days at a time, but half-hour traffic stops. Those can be anticipated up until work begins at the tunnels.”

The project will expand the eastbound tunnel bore, allowing it to accommodate a third lane of traffic. The highway will be widened all the way to the base of Floyd Hill, where it currently jumps to three lanes for the rest of the trek into Denver.

Local officials are also hoping to see the long-awaited final component of the southern Hwy. 9 widening project completed next summer, pending funding approval from the transportation commission.

The work would include expanding the road to two lanes in each direction between Tiger Road and Agape Church, installing a bridge over the Blue River at Tiger Run and constructing a roundabout at Fairview Boulevard.

The new bridge over the Blue at Tiger Run will include a new walkway for pedestrians and wildlife on the Colorado Trail to run alongside the river.

“It will help traffic flow a lot better and most important it provides a pedestrian underpass of Hwy. 9,” Noll said. “It will be huge in terms of habitat safety for trail users and small animals.”

The aging culverts that currently allow the Blue River to pass under the road have been a point of concern for CDOT engineers for some time.

The Hwy. 9 project is expected to cause significant traffic impacts and take the entire summer next year to complete. The work may fall over into the following construction season, Noll said, but is not expected to be as difficult to widen as the Valley Brook to Coyne Valley section because the highway is fairly flat.

The county will also be completing a $400,000 resurfacing project in Dillon Valley, and CDOT will be working to resurface the bike path between Copper Mountain and the top of Vail Pass.