News

Central 70 Project gains momentum in 2020, accomplishing dozens of milestones

December 30, 2020 - Central/Eastern Colorado

DENVERAs part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's Central 70 Project, crews dedicated more than one million hours into completing 24 major milestones in 2020. Since 2018, three million hours have been dedicated to construction of the state's largest infrastructure project in history.

More than 1.66 million cubic yards of dirt has been excavated, mostly in the lowered section, as crews worked to build the future westbound lanes of I-70. A portion of the 500,000-plus tons of asphalt placed along the Project this year was used to construct these new lanes while a majority was used in the east segment (between Quebec Street and Chambers Road). With lower traffic volumes earlier this spring, paving progressed several weeks ahead of schedule as crews were able to implement daytime lane closures along the east segment. With final paving and striping completed, this marked substantial completion of this segment. 

In addition, progress was made on the remaining 18 (out of 20 total) bridges across the Project -- demolishing old and building new.

Crews worked on the following bridges in 2020: 

  • I-70 over Brighton, Dahlia, Holly, Monaco and Quebec

  • Bridges for the Burlington Northern and Denver Rock Island railroads

  • Demolition of the old Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) bridge and construction of the new UPRR bridge

    • Crews shifted three tracks onto the new west half of the bridge, marking a major Project milestone with trains operational since last fall

  • New bridges at York, Josephine, the northern half of cover top bridge including Columbine and Clayton streets, Fillmore, Steele, Cook, Monroe, and Colorado

Several long-term closures began this year as well, including the westbound I-70 off-ramps to Brighton Boulevard and Steele/Vasquez and the Steele Street on-ramp to westbound I-70, to safely demolish existing ramps, build the lowered section (where the existing ramps were previously located) and rebuild the new ramps that tie into the final alignment. 

The new 46th Avenue North was also constructed between Colorado Boulevard and Steele Street, which will eventually serve as a frontage road along I-70, similar to Buchtel Boulevard along I-25 between Broadway and University.  

Motorists on I-70  between Quebec Street and Colorado Boulevard experienced a traffic switch to new outside lanes as crews began demolition and reconstruction of the center lanes of I-70. Progress was also made on Stapleton Drive, relocating various utilities, building new sidewalks and driveways along the new alignment, and rebuilding Stapleton South Drive intersections at Dahlia, Holly and Monaco streets. Stapleton North Drive is now complete between Holly and Dahlia streets. Crews also relocated the Holly Street on-ramp and the eastbound I-70 off-ramp to Holly Street. 

Besides progress in construction, the Project team also made strides in Workforce, outreach and vehicle miles saved. 

Workforce 

To date, nearly 690,000 hours have been performed by employees within the local hire zip codes along the Project limits. Considered essential employees, crews have been able to continue working year round, accomplishing major milestones on the Project. Central 70 is honored to participate in several initiatives to recruit and support a diverse local workforce. Data and progress on Project workforce goals are published on a monthly basis in Workforce at Glance. New reports are published by the third week of each month; data is reported with a two-month delay.

Outreach

The Central 70 Project is more than the reconstruction of I-70 — it is also about building relationships. Even with the challenges COVID-19 presented with in-person outreach, the Project was able to adapt and find creative ways to reach desired audiences along the corridor. This past year, the team participated in approximately 1,000 hours of community outreach. This outreach included virtual office hours, virtual Chips & Chat, virtual Coffee & Chat, virtual presentations and stakeholder meetings. The team was also still able to volunteer at Birdseed Collective in Globeville and Focus Points in Swansea through “We Don’t Waste,” participating in more than 400 hours of volunteer work to date.

Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC)

As part of Central 70’s partnership with Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC), various programs are offered to promote carpooling and public transit. Income qualified employees who commute to businesses along the Central 70 Project are eligible for a free monthly local-fare transit pass. Businesses within a 10-minute walk of a transit station may be qualified for matching funds to offset the costs of RTD’s EcoPass. There are also financial incentives to help start carpools and vanpools. Through this partnership, more than one million vehicle miles traveled have been saved to date through community and business programs.

2021 will be a monumental year for the Central 70 Project and the City of Denver as crews plan to shift existing eastbound and westbound I-70 traffic onto the new westbound lanes and demolish the viaduct. The Project team looks forward to continuing community and commuter outreach efforts and completing major milestones in 2021. 

View media kit, with aerial video of the Project and fact sheets, here: http://bit.ly/3mYY9dq

Covid-19 

Safe transportation infrastructure is essential for all of us, particularly for emergency first responders and freight drivers as Colorado navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, CDOT maintenance and construction crews follow social distancing and other health safety measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure on the worksite. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced guidelines for construction activities. The public is urged to join the campaign for #DoingMyPartCO by practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. As traffic returns to normal levels, motorists must drive cautiously and heed the speed limit so all of us can return home safely. 

Whole System.Whole Safety 

Earlier this year, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.

About the Central 70 Project

The Central 70 Project will reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70, add one new Express Lane in each direction, remove the aging 57-year-old viaduct and lower the interstate between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. More information on the Project, including a list of the Project’s community commitments, are available at central70.codot.gov.

Stay Informed

  • Text Alerts - Text Central70 to 77948

  • Email Updates - Sign up for Project updates at c70.codot.gov 

  • Website - c70.codot.gov - Traffic Impacts page 

  • Watch progress on the webcam 

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