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I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane Project

Project Background

The purpose of the I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane project is to provide short-term eastbound operational improvements to relieve traffic congestion during periods when traffic volumes are highest.  The proposed limits of these improvements on I-70 are from US 40 at Empire Junction to the western terminus of the Twin Tunnels improvements which are currently under construction.

This segment is the most congested stretch of the entire I-70 Mountain Corridor.  During both the summer and winter peak seasons, traffic volumes are highest on weekends when recreational travelers comprise more than 90 percent of traffic. In 2010, drivers experienced speeds of less than 20 miles per hour for 35 percent of the time on Sundays which have the highest volume.  Some motorists divert to the frontage road along I-70, which affects its ability to function as a local access county road.

The eastbound Peak Period Shoulder Lane (Managed Lane) would likely be built using existing shoulders on the interstate with some additional pavement added at interchanges and on bridges.  It would also likely including special signage, emergency pull-out areas and new lane striping. For this project, a managed lane will operate during a peak period and traffic utilizing that lane will be required to pay a toll.

As part of the I-70 Mountain Corridor Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process, a Project Leadership Team and a Technical Team have been formed.  These groups have developed a context statement and core values which are guiding the consideration of alternatives.  Additional task forces are working on specific issues and include: ALIVE, SWEEP, Emergency Response, Section 106, and Local Agency/Roadway.

CDOT has completed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for this proposed project which, along with a design process, was initiated in July 2013. The Categorical Exclusion and its supporting technical analysis are available in the quick links.  Improvements will be operational fall of 2015.

Project Kick-Off

July 16, 2014 marked the official PPSL kick-off, with major construction activity beginning the week of July 21, 2014.  The project is scheduled for completion by the Fall of 2015.

  • Summer/Fall 2014 – Shoulder hardening will begin in Empire and work East towards Idaho Springs with minimal daytime lane interruption expected.  In addition, improvements to historic Charlie Tayler Waterwheel Park (Exit 240) will begin, and the SH 103 bridge and interchange will be reconstructed.
  • Spring/Summer 2015 – Crews will reconfigure the Exit 241 interchange on the south side of Idaho Springs, repave the entire eastbound section of I-70 and final express lane installation will occur.
  • Fall 2015 – Final testing and opening of the Eastbound I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane.
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Project Contact

For more information, please contact:

Andi Schmid
CDOT Project Manager
720-497-6921
andria.schmid@state.co.us

Neil Ogden
CDOT Project Engineer
720-497-6928
neil.ogden@state.co.us

Crystal Morgan
CDOT Communications Mgr
crystal.morgan@state.co.us