Summer planning guide: I-70 Mountain Corridor

Local News

I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR —The Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor between Denver and Grand Junction will have a busy construction season this spring and summer as the Colorado Department of Transportation is making numerous improvements to the corridor.

“While we have a lot of work to do, we are carefully coordinated across the state so that the typical traveler will experience limited disruptions,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Still, if you plan to travel through the high country on I-70, it is always best to plan ahead and be prepared for changing conditions. If you are travelling during nighttime hours – when many of our lane closures are planned – expect small changes to traffic patterns and go just a little slower to handle these changes safely.”

Because I-70 is so heavily used, and the weather conditions in the high country limit the time to do much of the upkeep work on the interstate, CDOT will conduct the work with the least impact as possible to motorists.  Most of the lane closures on I-70 from C-470 to the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel will occur overnight, with daytime work restricted to emergencies and short-term traffic holds for rockfall mitigation. No lane closures will be planned on weekends or holidays. There will be daytime lane closures on nearby US 6 Clear Creek County and US 40.

“Travelers should be aware of planned work along both I-70 and some of the popular parallel routes like US-6 and US-40,” said Denver Metro Regional Transportation Director Paul Jesaitis. “If you are headed to the mountains from the Front Range, know before you go so that you can enjoy summertime in the mountains.”

“In addition to a number of projects in Glenwood Canyon, CDOT crews will conduct a variety of maintenance operations from the Continental Divide to the Utah border,” said Northwest Regional Transportation Director Mike Goolsby. “The daily work on these projects will be limited to relatively small areas that reduce the impacts to travelers, but drivers still need to be aware of these minor disruptions.”

Multiple projects are underway in Glenwood Canyon with several scheduled to be complete before the busy summer travel season. Motorists should plan for lower speeds and intermittent daytime single lane closures. If there is a safety closure in Glenwood Canyon due to a Flash Flood Warning, CDOT recommends the alternate route if the closure is anticipated to last longer than two hours. Motorists should detour by traveling via CO 9 to US 40 to CO 13. 

Motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic along the highly traveled mountain corridor during the busy summer season, give themselves some extra time to reach their destination, drive safely through work zones and check out COtrip.org for the latest road conditions.  

 Go to the I-70 Mountain Corridor project page for easy to read maps and the latest information on all of the projects. 

REMEMBER: SLOW FOR THE CONE ZONE

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Be patient

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO 

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR PROJECT DETAILS

ProjectClosures/Traffic ImpactsImprovements
I-70 Mountain Corridor – Denver to Frisco 
US 40 Resurfacing from County Road 93 to Genesee   April-October 2021Daytime single lane closures on weekdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with possible Saturday work, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Traffic stops of up to 20 minutes during the weekdays. Resurface 5.6 miles of US 40, widen shoulders and improve guardrail, structures and drainage.
US 6 Clear Creek Canyon Tunnel Lighting  April – June 2021Overnight full closures Mondays to Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., and Sundays, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., on US 6 between I-70 and CO 119.  Some daytime lane closures. No closures on the weekends or holidays.Modernize lighting in all five tunnels to improve safety, visibility and energy efficiency.  
US 6 Clear Creek Canyon Trail Phase 2  March – December 2021   Peaks to Plains Trail Jefferson County Segment June – fall 2021Daytime alternating single lane closures during the weekdays on US 6 between CO 119 and I-70.   Daytime single lane closures as needed on US 6 from CO 93 and CO 119 weekdays, short-term delays. Build a quarter mile segment of Peaks to Plains Trail  (Clear Creek County Open Space project)    Continuing work on a 1.75 segment of Peaks to Plains Trail at the canyon gateway of US 6 near CO 93/CO 58. (Jefferson County project)
US 6 Clear Creek Canyon Resurfacing  June 2021 to spring 2022 with winter shutdownDaytime single lane closures spanning one mile of the roadway. Resurface and improve safety for 11 miles of US 6 from CO 93 to CO 119.  
Westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane Express lane to open summer 2021Overnight single lane closures, Sundays to Thursdays along various locations along I-70, mainly in the Idaho Spring area.Complete building a peak period Express Lane on I-70 westbound from the Veterans Memorial Tunnel to the Empire interchange.  The project will reduce congestion and improve safety. 
I-70 Repaving: Georgetown to Empire May-September 2021Overnight single lane closures, 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., Mondays to Thursdays.Resurface a three-mile stretch of I-70, improve guardrail, signage and restripe. The project will improve safety and driving conditions. 
I-70 Eastbound Variable Speed Limit Signs: Empire to Idaho Springs Late spring – fall 2021Overnight single lane closures Sundays to Thursdays.Replace 13 aging variable speed limit (VSL) signs and install 13 new VSL signs along a ten-mile stretch of eastbound I-70 between Empire Junction and Idaho Springs. The signs will provide a more consistent travel time and decrease congestion. 
I-70 Rock Fall Mitigation near Dumont Late May to early July 2021Daytime 20-minute traffic holds from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for two to three days in late May and a few days in early June.  No work over the Memorial Holiday weekend. Scale rock face and place mesh netting over the rock face to prevent rock falls. 
County Road 314 Improvements in Idaho Springs Summer 2021-fall 2022Daytime alternating single lane closures. Widen and pave a dirt potion of County Road 314.  This route is typically used as an emergency route if I-70 has a closure.
I-70 Mountain Corridor – Frisco to Grand Junction 
ProjectClosuresImprovements
I-70 Structure Replacement Project: west of EJMT  Spring 2021 – December 202224/7 westbound right lane closure through Summer 2022. *All lanes open through the winter season due to winter shutdown.* Decreased speeds and possible delays. Remove and replace an  aging structure under I-70 with a new and wider structure to better accommodate vehicles.
I-70 Repaving Project: Frisco to Silverthorne May-October 2021Overnight single lane closures in both directions Mondays – Thursdays through Fall 2021.  Traffic impacts should be minimal and no work on weekends or holidays.Repave five miles of westbound lanes, improve bridge decks and upgrade guardrail. 
CO 9 Widening from Iron Springs to Frisco   May 2020 – October 2021Near I-70: lane shifts on Colorado Highway 9.  No work on I-70, but an alternate route. Widen to four lanes, install noise walls, provide a pedestrian underpass, build roundabouts and make other safety improvements. 
I-70 Repaving Project: West Side of Vail Pass to the Summit    April – October 2021Short term: 24/7 eastbound right lane closure from MP 184 to 185. Scheduled to end by early May. Starting mid May: overnight single lane closures, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Sunday night through Friday morning  in both directions through October 2021.Repave, repair several bridge decks and improve guardrail. 
I-70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lane Project: Top and Bottom of Vail Pass   Summer 2021 – Fall 2024Work is anticipated to begin in July 2021. There will be limited lane and shoulder closures. Crews will reconstruct the lower runaway truck ramp at Mile Point 182 and install a westbound automatic highway closure system. Work in summer 2021 is part of a larger improvement package that continues in 2022.

I-70 Tape Replacement Project: Between East Vail and Glenwood Canyon Daytime single lane closures through the week. Improve road markings. 
US 6 Avon to Dow Resurfacing   April – October 2021Single lane closures during the weekdays, with flagging operations during non-peak hours.Resurface, replace guardrail, restripe, add a bike lane on part of the project, upgrade ramps for ADA compliance and other improvements. 
I-70 Rockfall Fence Project: Along I-70 in Glenwood Canyon    Summer 2021Single lane closures during the weekdays with decreased speeds. Repair and replace 17 rockfall fences on the northside of Glenwood Canyon that were damaged during the Grizzly Creek Fire.
I-70 Glenwood Canyon Wall improvements   February – August 2021Single lane closures during weekdays  through August.  Decreased speeds. Complete wall improvement construction to strengthen slope stability in Glenwood Canyon. 
I-70 Sign Maintenance in Glenwood Canyon    Summer 2021Rolling half- mile daytime single lane closures during the summer. Improve signage. 
I-70 Fiber Optic InstallationMinimal lane closures through Monday, May 31, 2021 (Memorial Day).Significant improvement and installation to fiber optic cable placement along I-70.
I-70 No Name Tunnel Lighting Replacement   April – Fall 2021Single lane closures on weekdays with decreased speeds through July 2021.Replace and improve tunnel lighting system, improve stormwater management. 
Grizzly Creek Fire Repairs Half-lane closure per day until June 2021 with decreased speeds. Repair pavement. 
I-70 Roundabout Markings Nighttime lane closures during the week. Improve signage, pavement markings and other maintenance jobs at various locations along the I-70 Mountain Corridor west of the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel. 
I-70 Sign Replacement  Daytime shoulder closures during the weekdays. 
I-70 Wrong Way Detection Ramp shoulder closures, short term ramp closures.  Never more than a single ramp closed, never two consecutive interchange closures. 

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