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Colorado ramps up for another big I-70 project

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CDOT planning major highway improvements in 2014.

Peak-period shoulder toll lane to ease eastbound congestion; CDOT hopes to finish the work by 2015

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — As soon as they finish with the current I-70 construction around the Twin Tunnel segment, Colorado Department of Transportation engineers will set their sights on another project aimed at easing eastbound traffic congestion on the busy Colorado east-west interstate.

A nine-mile section of peak-period shoulder lanes from Empire Junction to the Twin Tunnels could loosen up Sunday afternoon traffic jams by providing three lanes from the junction all the way back to Denver, said CDOT mountain corridor manager Jim Bemelen.

The estimated cost for improving the shoulders is about $30 million, and funding for the project has been approved as part of a statewide $560 million slate of upgrades under the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) program, announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper and CDOT director Don Hunt this week. Continue reading

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Colorado: Major blasting done I-70 Twin Tunnels

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CDOT says major blasting operations are complete at the I-70 Twin Tunnels improvement project.

Project aimed at improving safety and traffic flow between Denver and mountain resorts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Construction crews have reached a major milestone on a major Interstate 70 improvement project between Colorado’s mountain resorts and Denver, with major blasting operations for a new tunnel bore now complete, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Along with the new bore in the eastbound Twin Tunnel near Idaho Springs, CDOT is also straightening and widening curves in the narrow canyon in hopes of easing congestion and improving safety at one of the tighest choke points along the corridor. Continue reading

Colorado: Budget juggling to speed highway projects

New accounting system doesn’t solve state’s long-term transportation woes

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Highway projects in Colorado will get a boost from a new budgeting regime.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado transportation officials say they will juggle their budgets to accelerate completion of transportation projects and create or sustain more than 10,500 jobs over five years.

Currently, CDOT does not advertise a project until all of the money is “in the bank,” which means the department is saving money for projects over multiple years before construction begins. In addition, some projects take several years to construct, so money often sits unspent when it could be used much sooner.

Under the new program, CDOT will fund multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount of a project before construction begins. This effort will match project expenditures with available revenues and allow CDOT to allocate an additional $300 million per year over five years to transportation projects over the next five years. Continue reading

Colorado: CDOT eyes automated avalanche blasting system for Berthoud Pass corridor

A powder avalanche blasts down a hillside near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. Photo courtesy CDOT.

Pilot project to be considered for the Stanley slide path

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A year or so after first talking up the idea of installing an automated avalanche blasting system on Berthoud Pass, the Colorado Department of Transportation is getting ready to hold a public info session to discuss the idea with the public.

At an elevation of 11,307 feet, Berthoud Pass averages about 500 inches of snow per year, and the area has 55 identified slide paths, many of them directly threatening U.S. Highway 40. The most recognized avalanche path, and proposed site of CDOT’s pilot project, is the Stanley Slide area located on US 40 at Mile Post 249.8. Continue reading

Colorado: I-70 repairs will require single-lane closures

Work to take place Sunday-Thursday nights through October

Colorado travelers can expect some lane closures along I-70 the next few weeks as CDOT repairs the road surface.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Road and bridge work along I-70 will require overnight lanes closures between Vail Pass and Chief Hosa the next few weeks, with scheduled for completion in November. Crews will be crack sealing, as well as paving a two-mile segment through Idaho Springs.

Drivers can expect single lane closures on eastbound or westbound I-70, Sunday through Thursday nights, as follows:

  • Eastbound between Vail Pass and Silverthorne – 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Eastbound through Idaho Springs – 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Westbound through Idaho Springs – 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The speed limit is reduced to 45 mph through the work zone. Lane closures are a maximum of two miles long and work can alternate between eastbound and westbound I-70, depending on how the project is progressing. Traffic slowing is possible due to the single lane configurations.

“Crack sealing is a preemptive strike against road deterioration because it extends the lifespan of the highway – both the surface and sub-surface,” said CDOT resident engineer Russel Cox.  “It prevents pot holes from developing and that’s a safety enhancement as well. We see it as a lower cost treatment in the short-term that saves money in the long-term.”

A-1 Chipseal Co. of Denver, CO. is the contractor for the $1.6 million project.

Additional information is available by calling the project hotline at 970-344-4664.

Updated information regarding traffic impacts on this or other CDOT projects is available at www.cotrip.org or by calling 511.  To receive project updates via e-mail, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner. The link takes you to a list of items you can subscribe to, including I-70 West, Denver to Glenwood Springs.

Colorado: Hazard tree removal along major highways

Roadside logging is under way in the Colorado high country, as the Forest Service partners with CDOT to remove hazard trees along key highways.

Logging to continue into autumn

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Travelers in the Colorado high country may encounter a few delays and lane closures as the Forest Service and CDOT partner to clear beetle-killed trees from along major highways.

“Ensuring these major transportation corridors are clear of dead trees is certainly critical to keeping people safe and traffic flowing,” said Cal Wettstein, Rocky Mountain region incident commander for the Forest Service.

Work has already started along I-70 in Summit County and motorists can expect to see more tree removal along US Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass and State Hwy. 125. The dead trees pose a threat to public safety as they weaken over time and may fall without warning along these popular transportation routes. Continue reading

Colorado: Getting serious about high speed transit

More than 150 companies have shown interest in the I-70 corridor.

CDOT to gather technical info on potential advanced guideway system for I-70 mountain corridor

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —As part of a $1.8 million high-speed transit feasibility study, the Colorado Department of Transportation will take a close look at private-sector information on high-speed transit technologies.

The goal is try and determine if there’s a technology to run a high-speed train or some other form of transit from the Front Range to the mountains, and if those technologies can meet  specific performance and operational criteria for an I-70 transit system running between C-470 in Jefferson County and the Eagle County Regional Airport.

“This study is making a critical determination about the potential role a high-speed transit system will play in solving the transportation congestion and safety challenges on the I-70 mountain corridor,” said CDOT’s Mark Imhoff,. “The study will collaborate with high-speed transit technology providers and the financial industry to identify feasible technologies, routes, station locations and funding approaches.” Continue reading

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