CDOT launches survey ahead of Twin Tunnels widening project |

CDOT launches survey ahead of Twin Tunnels widening project

Caddie Nath
summit daily news
Daily file photo The Twin Tunnels, east of Idaho Springs, are up for a facelift.

The first stage of a $60 million widening project at the Twin Tunnels kicked off this week with a $1 million survey and geotechnical investigation, which will cause round the clock lane closures in the area.

One eastbound lane of Interstate 70 will be closed through the twin tunnels until 10 a.m. Friday with possible occasional traffic stops at night to allow for the work, according to a statement from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The survey will gather base information for the widening project, which will expand the eastbound bore – a choke point for peak-season traffic returning to Denver from the mountains – and widen the highway to three lanes to improve the flow of traffic into Denver. The Twin Tunnels are set to open with three eastbound lanes by Oct. 31, 2013.

“The scope of this survey and geotechnical investigation is to determine the tunnel pillar strength, investigate the tunnel lining of both the (eastbound) and (westbound) tunnels and find out more information about the rock around the eastbound tunnel for design purposes,” CDOT Region 1 engineer Peter Kozinski told the Summit Daily via email.

The survey is intended to help determine the most efficient construction methods, Kozinski said. The results will determine the final design of the widening.

The Twin Tunnel lane closures this week will overlap with a full eastbound closure at night between Silverthorne and Loveland Pass this week, to allow for the installation of a new electronic message sign just east of the tunnel.

Traffic will be rerouted over Loveland Pass from midnight to 5 a.m. tonight and Thursday night.

The new sign will display weather and road conditions, speeds and supplemental information. CDOT officials say the location was selected to improve the flow of traffic in the area.

Officials said the new sign may reduce metering – traffic stops of up to 20 minutes on the east side of the tunnel conducted during peak-traffic times to prevent dangerous gridlock inside the tunnel.

A third project to eliminate a reoccurring bump in the highway between the tunnel and Silverthorne will also get under way next week.

The project is expected to require singe-lane closures beginning on the westbound side of I-70 on Monday.

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