Colorado DOT moves into construction phase for U.S. 36 Emergency Rebuild Project

This comes about a month after cracking first appeared along this stretch of roadway, eventually causing part of the road to cave in and the retaining wall to fall apart

August 15, 2019
Emergency rebuild project needed for U.S. 36 in Westminster
In mid-July, cracking caused part of U.S. 36 to cave in and the retaining wall to fall apart. Image courtesy Colorado DOT.

This week, the Colorado DOT (CDOT) is moving into the rebuild phase for the Eastbound U.S. 36 Emergency Rebuild Project of the half-mile stretch of eastbound U.S. 36 between Wadsworth Boulevard and 104th/Church Ranch Boulevard in Westminster of the Denver metro area.

This comes about a month after cracking first appeared and started to develop along this stretch of roadway on July 11 and 12. The cracks got significantly worse as the roadway shifted, causing part of the road to cave in and the retaining wall to fall apart.

After the cracking was first noticed, CDOT sprang into action, organizing maintenance and engineering crews, as well as contractors, for emergency repairs of the crack that formed along the 200-ft section of the roadway. This was followed by several weeks of nonstop work to clear away the damaged road section. Crews with CDOT’s contracted partner, Kraemer North America, worked to remove the damaged retaining wall, the concrete roadway on top, and prepare the area for permanent reconstruction. 

Before wall removal began, CDOT crews worked around the clock to shift two eastbound lanes on the westbound side, with a concrete barrier separating the east and westbound lanes to create a stable interim traffic pattern in this section of U.S. 36. 

“Since the outset of this event, CDOT and our partners have worked together to respond rapidly, provide consistent operations on U.S. 36 for travelers during construction, and work towards long-term repair as efficiently as possible,” CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said in a news release.

According to CDOT, the rebuilt section of U.S. 36 will include drilling caissons down into the bedrock and placing a material called geofoam behind the retaining wall in place of the previous existing backfill. Geofoam is a lightweight backfill that has been used effectively in similar situations with settlement. Since geofoam is lightweight, it reduces pressure and stress to the underlying soil. It is also very strong, which means it can safely support highway loading and also lead to improved slope stability. 

During this construction phase, crews will work up to 24 hours a day, seven days per week, in 12-hour shifts to complete this emergency rebuild project safely and efficiently. The traffic shift implemented on July 16, shifting two lanes of EB traffic onto the WB side of U.S. 36 in this area, will remain in place throughout the construction timeline. Traffic is anticipated to return to normal conditions by October, which is weather permitting and subject to change.   

U.S. 36 remains safe to travel on, and the site is being monitored at all times. Surveys have shown there continues to be no movement on the westbound side, and it is stable and safe for traffic.

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SOURCE: Colorado DOT

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