News

CDOT to move forward with Environmental Assessment for the I-70 Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnels Project

February 24, 2020 - Denver Metro Area, Colorado - Media and public invited to open house Feb. 27 to learn more

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY — The Colorado Department of Transportation is moving forward with the Environmental Assessment (EA) and preliminary engineering for the I-70 Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnels Project and will host an upcoming public meeting to provide an update on the project and the alternatives under consideration. The project was recently reignited as an I-70 Mountain Corridor critical priority. CDOT has worked with its partners in local and state government to take this important step in addressing a serious challenge to the I-70 corridor. Thanks to funding from the state legislature, CDOT is able to advance the planning of this project. At this time, $100 million has been identified, which would not fully fund construction of the project but will allow for the continuation of this environmental and design study phase. Several alternatives will be presented to the public at the upcoming project open house, which are outlined below.

PUBLIC MEETING INFORMATION

WHAT: I-70 Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnels Public Meeting

WHEN: Thursday, February 27, 2020

            Open House from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.; Presentation at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Clear Creek High School & Middle School; 185 Beaver Brook Canyon Road, Evergreen, CO 80439

PROJECT BACKGROUND

In summer 2017, CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) began studying and planning improvements on westbound Interstate 70 from Floyd Hill to the Veterans Memorial Tunnels. Among the improvements being considered: increasing travel-time reliability, increasing capacity on the highway, replacing a deficient bridge and improving the geometric design of the interstate.

This stretch of I-70 is one of the most congested locations on the westbound I-70 mountain corridor. High-traffic volume on I-70 west of Denver has led to ever-increasing periods of slow traffic, which, at times, approaches a gridlock situation. This area also is heavily impacted by adverse weather conditions.

ALTERNATIVES UNDER CONSIDERATION

The I-70 Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnels Project would improve I-70 from Floyd Hill (west of Evergreen) through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels on the eastern edge of Idaho Springs. The major elements of the project are:

  • Adding a third westbound travel lane to the two-lane section of I-70 from the current three-lane to two-lane drop (approximately milepost 246) through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels
  • Constructing a new frontage road between US 6 and the Hidden Valley/Central City Interchange
  • Improving interchanges and intersections throughout the project area
  • Improving design speeds and stopping sight distance on horizontal curves
  • Improving the multimodal trail (Clear Creek Greenway) between US 6 and the Veterans Memorial Tunnels
  • Reducing animal-vehicle conflicts and improving wildlife connectivity with new and/or improved wildlife overpasses or underpasses

Two alternatives are under consideration for adding the third lane of capacity along westbound I-70 between US 6 and the Hidden Valley/Central City Interchange:

  • The Tunnel Alternative would construct a tunnel that would carry three lanes in the westbound direction of I-70. Eastbound I-70 would be realigned on the existing highway footprint to flatten curves. This alternative also includes two options for the alignment of the new frontage road on either the north or south side of Clear Creek.
  • The Canyon Viaduct Alternative would construct a viaduct structure and elevate both the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-70 through the Clear Creek Canyon. The existing I-70 highway under the new bridges would be used for the frontage road and Greenway.

The EA is also evaluating the No Action Alternative, which would replace the bridge at the bottom of Floyd Hill (near the US 6 junction with I-70) but not add any roadway capacity or other improvements.

PROJECT CONTACT INFORMATION

WHOLE SYSTEM. WHOLE SAFETY. 

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 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 CDOT

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located 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. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options. 

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