I-70 Vail East to West resurfacing project complete

News Release

December 15, 2020 - Northwestern Colorado

New Surface on Vail Pass
Resurfacing on I-70 includes the town of Vail and extends east towards Vail Pass


EAGLE COUNTY - The Colorado Department of Transportation and contract partner Elam Construction are pleased to announce the completion of the resurfacing project on Interstate 70 from Mile Point 172 to MP 187. This section of I-70 includes the town of Vail and extends east towards Vail Pass.

CDOT and Elam Construction appreciate the patience of the Vail community and Eagle County residents and businesses during project construction. The 2020 construction season brought challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted delays for this project. This project did have an unexpected improvement: crews were able extended paving on I-70 further east than originally planned, improving a section of roadway that had deteriorated quickly this last spring. 

As part of CDOT’s Whole System - Whole Safety initiative, the I-70 Vail East to West resurfacing project started approximately 8 months ago, the end of March, and focused on a hot mix asphalt (HMA) overlay, maintenance repairs to several bridge-decks and the installation of guardrail that meets the new safety standard requirements. 

The HMA eliminated ruts and road damage, and created a smoother road surface. The new overlay will add approximately 10 years of life to the highway. Crews repaired bridge joints and weak spots to the bridge-decks to strengthen and increase the durability of the infrastructure while the new guardrail is 31” high instead of 27” high to help vehicles remain on the road. These improvements will make the highway safer for the traveling public.

The Vail East to West improvements are an important step towards improving safety and providing an excellent customer experience on this section of I-70,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We are thrilled to complete these improvements to benefit travelers, and look forward to further upgrades in the area on Vail Pass with the assistance of an INFRA grant received from the U.S. Department of Transportation.” The federal agency awarded CDOT a $60.7 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant earlier this year. The funding will be used to construct an eastbound auxiliary lane, reconstructing the eastbound bridge over Polk Creek, shoulder widening, eastbound and westbound curve modifications, reconstruction of a truck ramp, dynamic message signs, a variable speed limit system, wildlife crossings, automated anti-icing technologies and will relocate two miles of the recreation path that is currently next to I-70. Improvements will take place on I-70 on the west side of Vail Pass, between Mile Points 180 and 190 in Eagle County. Initial work is anticipated to begin in 2021.

Vail Pass Resurfacing
Newly resurfaced highway near Vail.


Vail Pass Work Zone Map

Travel info

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

Chain and Traction Laws

CDOT urges travelers to be aware of chain and traction law codes before heading out on the roadway.

  • Code 18/Commercial Chain Law: Commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains when traveling on the Interstate 70 mountain corridor from fall to spring. Vehicles without chains can often lose traction, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it's critical to use chains to be in compliance with Colorado's chain law.

  • Code 15/Passenger Traction Law: All motorists are required to either have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, or (for two-wheel drive vehicles) snow tires or all-weather tires with a mud/snow designation. Tread depth on all tires must be at least 3/16" regardless of vehicle type. Vehicles that do not meet these criteria must carry chain devices or alternative traction devices such as an AutoSock. The law focuses on passenger vehicles, as commercial vehicles have their own restrictions. It is unlawful to proceed when a state highway is closed or to proceed when a restriction is in effect without the required traction equipment. Violators will be given a citation, which comes with a $100 fine and $32 surcharge. That jumps to a $500 fine with a $156 surcharge if a violation results in the closure of one or more traffic lanes.

  • Code 16/Passenger Chain Law: All passenger vehicles need chains when Code 16 is in effect.

Remember: Slow for the Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.

  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.

  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.

  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so

  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.

  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.

  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.

  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.

  • Be patient!


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

In early 2019, 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.