Comments taken through Aug. 4
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal and state highway officials have moved one step closer to making significant improvements to the I-70 corridor with release of a draft environmental study that discusses environmental impacts from the proposed of a third bore at the twin tunnels.
The highway segment is a known choke point along the busy corridor that causes major delays. It’s also one of the most crash-prone sections between Denver and the high country.
The work, which could begin next summer, would address the narrow tunnels and sharp curves on a three-mile stretch of interstate that sees a high number of crashes compared to similar stretches of highway elsewhere in the state.
Between 2006 and 2010, there were 625 crashes on that highway segment, most of them in the eastbound direction near the Hidden Valley curve, resulting in significant delays on the highway, especially Sunday afternoons, when traffic can slow from 65 mph to 35 mph and create backupsextending past Georgetown and sometimes reaching as far the Eisenhower- Johnson Memorial Tunnels, nearly 30 miles away.
The proposal involves adding a third eastbound travel lane and consistent 10-foot outside shoulder along I-70 between the East Idaho Springs Interchange and the base of Floyd Hill, where the project would connect to an existing third travel lane.
The eastbound bore of the Twin Tunnels would be expanded to accommodate the wider roadway section, and the existing tunnel portal face would be removed and replaced. The proposed sction would also straighten the eastbound curve west of the Hidden Valley Interchange where the highest number and most serious crashes in the project area occur.
Along with technical details, the lead agencies on the project are also considering whether the additional capacity would operate exclusively as a general purpose lane or if users would pay a fee to use the additional lane during peak periods.
The lead agencies are considering a range of widths (from a minimum of 4 feet to a maximum of 10 feet) for the inside shoulder of I-70 in the western portion of the project area. The width of the roadway section will be dictated by how much the tunnel can be expanded within existing cost and geotechnical constraints.
The lead agencies are also considering whether the additional capacity would operate exclusively as a general purpose lane or if users would pay a fee to use the additional lane during peak periods (referred to as a managed lane). Figure ES-2 provides an overview of the Proposed Action features.
A public hearing will be held on July 25, 2012 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.. at the Clear Creek County School District Office (320 Highway 103, Idaho Springs, CO 80452). Comments on the EA, Section 4(f) evaluation, and companion report are due on or before August 4, 2012.
The draft EA documents are online here.
Comment electronically at the project website at http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/i70twintunnels or by mail or email. Mailed comments should be sent to David Singer, I-70 Mountain Corridor Environmental Program Manager, CDOT Region 1, 425C Corporate Circle, Golden, CO 80401. Email may be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The comment period ends August 4, 2012.
Hard copies are available at:
FHWA Colorado Division Office, 12300 W. Dakota Ave., Suite 180, Lakewood, CO 80228
CDOT Region 1 Central Engineering, 425 C Corporate Circle, Golden, CO 80401
CDOT Region 1 Headquarters, 18500 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80011
CDOT Headquarters, 4201 E. Arkansas Ave., Denver, CO 80222
CDOT Region 3 (Eagle), 714 Grand Ave., Eagle, CO 81631
CDOT EPB Library, CDOT Shumate Building, 4201 E. Arkansas Ave., Denver, CO 80222
Belmar Public Library, 555 S. Allison Pkwy, Lakewood, CO 80226
Denver Public Library, 10 W. 14th Ave, Denver, CO 80204
Empire Town Hall, 30 E. Park Ave., Empire, CO 80438
Evergreen Public Library, 5000 Highway 73, Evergreen, CO 80439
Glenwood Springs Public Library, 413 9th St., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Gilpin County Public Library, 15131 Highway 119, Black Hawk, CO 80422
Idaho Springs Public Library, 219 14th Ave., Idaho Springs, CO 80452
John Tomay Memorial Library (Georgetown), 605 6th St., Georgetown, CO 80444
Summit County Public Library (Frisco), 0037 CR 1005, 2nd Floor, Frisco, CO 80443
State Publications Library, 201 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80203
Silver Plume Town Hall, 710 Main Street, Silver Plume, CO 80476