News

Expect Lane Closures, Speed Reductions as I-70 Wolcott East Project Progresses

Drivers urged to slow down: "140 seconds is not worth the safety risk"


EAGLE COUNTY—
Work is progressing on the Interstate 70 Wolcott east resurfacing and safety-improvement project. Work, which started on March 20, 2017, is scheduled to be completed in late November 2017.

Crews have installed over 25,000 linear feet of guardrail (55,800 feet total); replaced 838 feet of bridge rail (1,676 feet total) on I-70 structures in Avon, Edwards, and over Hillcrest Drive; and are continuing work on bridge deck repairs and bridge joint replacements. The project also overlays 7.5 miles of eastbound and westbound I-70 with new asphalt between mile points 159.5, just west of Edwards, and 167 at Avon. Paving has started along eastbound I-70 as well.

Two-Phase Resurfacing

Most of the paving has been a leveling course, meaning it's only about one-quarter to one-half inch thick at the thinnest spots. It is not a finished product. A leveling course provides a paving base that is smoother than the original surface. It fills in the ruts—almost an inch in depth—which are mostly the result of heavy truck traffic in the right lane. The leveling course should provide greater resistance to future rutting, cracking and other pavement distresses, and lead to a smoother finished product.

Starting the week of July 31, the entire surface of westbound and eastbound I-70 will be overlaid in 1.5 inches of new asphalt—the top and final layer. Currently, the only portions of the project where a top layer of asphalt has been applied are the eastbound lanes of I-70 on the bridge over the Eagle River (at the west edge of the project, near MP 159.5), and the right shoulder from the west end of the project toward Hillcrest Drive in Edwards.

Safety First

Crews note that many drivers do not heed the lowered work zone speed limits, potentially causing safety issues for workers, other motorists and themselves. Driving the entire eight-mile work zone at 75 mph versus 55 mph saves less than 140 seconds—or just over two minutes, according to a study by traffic engineers. Keep in mind that the regular posted speed limits vary from 65 mph to 75 mph without construction. During construction, the speed limit is 65 mph between active work zones; this means the actual time savings would be even lower.

The project team hopes motorists agree this small time savings is not worth risking safety or a ticket that carries a hefty double fine. Please go slow for the cone zone.

Travel Impacts

Daytime Work

  • 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday - Thursday:
    • I-70 eastbound (MP 159.5 - 167) reduced to a single lane for paving; speed reduced to 55 mph
  • 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday - Thursday:
    • I-70 westbound and eastbound bridges at Avon (MP 166.6) lanes and shoulders are narrowed with crews working behind barrier; speed reduced to 55 mph; no I-70 lane closure
    • I-70 westbound and eastbound bridges at Edwards (MP 162.2) lanes and shoulders are narrowed with crews working behind barrier; speed reduced to 55 mph; no I-70 lane closure
    • I-70 eastbound and westbound bridges at Hillcrest (MP 160.5) lanes and shoulders are narrowed with crews working behind barrier; speed reduced to 55 mph; no I-70 lane closure
  • 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday - Thursday, and 7 a.m. - noon on Friday:
    • Avon Road reduced to a single lane in each direction under I-70
    • Edwards Road reduced to a single lane in each direction under I-70
    • Hillcrest Drive/Beard Creek Trail reduced to a single lane in each direction under I-70, with periodic brief traffic stops

Nighttime Work

  • 7 p.m. - 8 a.m., Monday - Thursday:
    • I-70 eastbound (MP 159.5 - 167) reduced to a single lane for guardrail work; speed reduced to 55 mph
  • 7 p.m. Monday - 8 a.m. Tuesday:
    • I-70 eastbound bridge at Avon (MP 166.6) reduced to a single lane
  • 7 p.m. Tuesday - 8 a.m. Wednesday:
    • I-70 westbound bridge at Avon (MP 166.6) reduced to a single lane
  • 24/7 through August:
    • 12-foot width restriction through entire project limits

Project Info

Project work will improve the driving surface and safety features on I-70, from west of Edwards to Avon (approximately MP 159.5 to MP 167—with additional bridge work at 158.8). The project is scheduled for completion in November 2017. The total construction cost is $11.1 million.

Work will include resurfacing a 7.5-mile stretch of distressed pavement within those limits, making bridge rail and deck repairs on nine structures, lining one large deteriorated culvert under I-70, extensively upgrading and replacing guardrail on various sections along each side of the highway for the entire length of the project, and making minor lighting improvements to the wiring at the Edwards interchange.

Separate I-70 Project Now Underway Further East

There is a separate project now underway on I-70 that will continue through late August. The project consists of replacing the bridge guardrail on both the eastbound and westbound bridge structures at approximately MP 168.7 (over the Eagle River at Eagle-Vail). Work will be completed from 8 p.m. - 11 a.m., Sunday through Thursday for westbound traffic, and from 8 p.m. - 7 a.m., Sunday through Thursday for eastbound traffic.

Expect intermittent lane closures in both directions. Learn more at [email protected] or the Town of Vail website.

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