Image: KUSA-TV (Denver)
Colorado transportation leaders and local elected officials came together Tuesday to discuss plans to improve a congested stretch of I-70.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) held a press conference below the bridge at the I-70 and U.S. 6 interchange. According to officials, the bridge has been in service as long as the interstate has been active, and among the state's structurally deficient bridges.
CDOT is moving forward with a concept that would remove the bridge. Crews would bore a half-mile-long tunnel through Floyd Hill and create a third westbound lane all the way to the Veterans Memorial Tunnels. The plan would reconfigure the section of I-70 with simpler curves, bridges and walls to improve the line of sight for drivers. It would also complete a portion of the shared-use trail from the Clear Creek Greenway toward the Peaks to Plains Trail in Jefferson County.
The critical project is expensive, and CDOT currently does not have the funds to pay for the $550 million plan. The department currently has a backlog of projects totaling $10 billion. The $2 billion lawmakers recently set aside for transportation projects may help along with future ballot initiatives.
In the meantime, CDOT is proposing an $80 million plan to create a peak-period shoulder lane on westbound I-70 from the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to Empire. The toll lane would be similar to the eastbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane that opened a few years ago. Construction on the lane could begin as early as spring 2019.
Source: KUSA-TV (Denver)