Safety upgrades require overnight closures at Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels

April 2, 2015 - Central/Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Pilot cars to lead vehicles in alternating directions.

STATEWIDE – As part of the $20 million Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels Fixed Fire Suppression System (FFSS) project, 20 nights of overnight closures at the tunnels are scheduled to begin Monday, April 6, so the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) can install a linear heat detection system in each tunnel bore. 

This work will occur Sunday through Thursday nights, requiring 20 nights of work. Lane closures will begin at 8 p.m. each night, with a full closure of one tunnel bore at 10 p.m. All lanes through both tunnels will reopen by 6:30 a.m. the next day. To minimize the impact on travelers, one of the tunnel bores will remain open at all times and pilot cars will lead I-70 traffic in alternating directions through the open tunnel.

Traffic will be held in both directions at the tunnel for up to 20 minutes, but drivers could experience longer delays as the queues are cleared in each direction. 

“The EJMT is one of Colorado’s most important assets and we must protect the public who utilizes it as well as the structure itself from long-term damage which could result in billions of dollars-worth of damage,” said Tony DeVito, CDOT Region Transportation Director. “We know that any closure of the tunnel would have negative repercussions that would reverberate along the I-70 mountain corridor, which is why this project is so important.”

The new heat detection system will alert tunnel staff to rising heat levels inside the tunnels, and the suppression system will allow the remote release of water, if needed, without having to enter the tunnels. The system will better protect one of the state’s most valuable highway assets that connects the Front Range with the Western Slope and facilitates interstate commerce and also increase the safety of the traveling public. Installing these systems in both tunnels will take about 20 nights to complete and this work is weather dependent, so closure dates are subject to change.


  • I-70 traffic will be stopped in both directions at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels on Sunday through Thursday nights beginning Monday, April 6, from 10 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night, weather permitting
  • Traffic will be held for up to 20 minutes, while pilot cars lead I-70 traffic in alternating directions through the open tunnel.
  • US 6/Loveland Pass can be used as an alternate route, weather permitting.

PROJECT INFORMATION: For more information on this project, visit For information on I-70 travel conditions, visit, download the CDOT Mobile app, sign up for GovDelivery or call 511. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and CDOT’s Facebook page at

Fact Sheet attached.