Eastbound I-70 open at Denver West

April 26, 2019 - Denver Metro Area, Colorado

LAKEWOOD – The Colorado Department of Transportation has reopened eastbound Interstate 70 at Denver West Parkway after a fiery crash involving 24 passenger vehicles and four semi-trucks severely damaged the roadway on Thursday afternoon. 

Reopening I-70 required removing 2 ½ inches of damaged asphalt and repaving a segment more than 300 feet in length and 50 feet wide.  Crews also needed to inspect the Denver West Parkway Bridge over I-70 to ensure its structural integrity was not compromised by the intense heat (2,500 degrees Fahrenheit) from the resultant fire.

“This tragedy has shaken us to the core and is a stark reminder of how safety must be first and foremost for all of us,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.  “Under difficult and tragic circumstances, the CDOT team worked together in real-time with our partners to get I-70 back up and running.  We thank our friends in the fire-fighting and law enforcement communities, as well as motorists and commercial drivers who were patient with detours during a necessary but extended closure.”

Westbound I-70 fully reopened to traffic through the crash area Friday afternoon.

“We must all keep working together to ensure that safety is our highest priority — in the way we build and maintain our infrastructure and in the way that we communicate with each other and peers and neighbors about the immense responsibility that goes operating a vehicle,” added Lew. 

To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System Whole Safety initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address human factors, physical assets and organizational culture to better support real time operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for those traveling by all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission - to get everyone home safely. 

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.