CDOT involves the construction industry and stakeholders on best ways to deliver major I-70 Floyd Hill improvements

News Release

June 24, 2021 - Central/Eastern Colorado - Transparency is key to determine the best value for the public

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY - The Colorado Department of Transportation recently held a virtual public meeting with the construction industry, reviewing the best contracting methods to deliver a $700 million project that will revamp I-70 between Floyd Hill, west of Evergreen and the Veterans Memorial Tunnel in eastern Idaho Springs. This section of the mountain corridor has not had significant improvements since it was built several decades ago. There are tight bottlenecks and a dire need to replace the aging westbound I-70 bridge at the bottom of Floyd Hill. The project will relieve congestion, rebuild bridges, enhance multi-modal travel, improve wildlife habitat and access to Clear Creek and the Clear Creek Greenway. CDOT has been working collaboratively with local communities, state and federal agencies, environmental groups, and other stakeholders for the past several years to develop a solution for this vital stretch of highway.

“With this project, CDOT is initiating implementation of several new measures to increase transparency associated with selecting a procurement method for large projects,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “These steps, which were included in SB260 at CDOT’s request, include holding an open meeting with the construction industry to discuss project selection method prior to selection, and seeking approval from the Transportation Commission regarding project delivery method prior to moving forward with a large project.”

“With construction expected to begin as soon as the summer of 2022, CDOT has been working extensively with our stakeholders to determine the best and most practical way to deliver this complex project that protects the best interests of the public and can get this project moving most efficiently,” said CDOT Chief Engineer Steve Harelson. “As part of CDOT’s transparency and accountability strategy, we brought together representatives from state, federal and local entities to carefully determine the right contracting methods, followed by a virtual meeting with the construction industry that was also open to the public.  Transparency is key to making sure this critical project is delivered as safely and efficiently as possible.”

CDOT plans to deploy two different project delivery methods for different aspects of Floyd Hill.  The traditional Design Bid Build method will be used to deliver the first phase of projects, including wildlife crossings, intersection improvements and micro-transit infrastructure. 

Following approval by the Transportation Commission in June, CDOT will move forward with the Construction Management/General Contractor (CM/GC) method to deliver the most complex phase of the project, including westbound I-70 widening, an eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane, bridge replacements and interchange upgrades. This method has been determined to manage the risks associated with a complicated process, and it is also favored by local government partners including Clear Creek County.

The CM/GC delivery method was recommended following a two-day workshop with 14 subject matter experts from CDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the High Performance Transportation Enterprise, Clear Creek County and Central City in 2018 and later reviewed in 2020. The method was recommended because it has significant benefits for risk management and risk sharing with complex projects, provides the best schedule and scope flexibility given the complexity of the project and likely phasing of funding, and is best suited to ongoing collaboration with stakeholders through the I-70 Mountain Corridor Context Sensitive Solutions Process which is important for developing environmentally sensitive solutions.  

CDOT then reviewed the delivery method with more than 250 people in the virtual construction industry public meeting held in May. About 90 percent of the participants said CDOT’s reasoning for the project delivery methods was clear. CDOT conveyed industry input to the Transportation Commission and they approved the delivery methods.  CDOT will send out requests for proposals within the coming months. 

The project includes:

  • Adding a westbound express lane to the two-lane section of I-70 from the current three-lane to two-lane drop (approximately MP 246) through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels 
  • Constructing a new frontage road between the US 6 interchange 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
  • Adding an auxiliary lane to I-70 in the eastbound (uphill) direction of Floyd Hill between the US 6 interchange and the Hyland Hills/Floyd Hill interchange
  • Improving the multimodal trail (Greenway) between US 6 and the Veterans Memorial Tunnels
  • Reducing animal-vehicle conflicts and improving wildlife connectivity
  • Providing two permanent air quality monitors at Floyd Hill and Idaho Springs to collect data on local air quality conditions and trends
  • Coordinating rural broadband access with local communities, including providing access to existing/planned conduits and fiber in the interstate right of way 
  • Implementing a new micro transit service from Denver to the mountains including three park-and-ride facilities and regular service in vehicles that are sized to utilize peak period shoulder express lanes

The project will be delivered in the following phases. Funding is identified for the Early Projects and I-70 Westbound Phase.

  • Early Projects include two major wildlife crossings near Genesee and Empire (east and west of the Floyd Hill area), new roundabout intersections between the Beaver Brook/Floyd Hill and Hyland Hills/Floyd Hill interchanges, and micro-transit infrastructure.  Project delivery method: Design Bid Build. 
  • I-70 Westbound Phase includes westbound I-70 widening, eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane, the needed bridge replacements, and interchange upgrades.  Project delivery method: CM/GC 
  • I-70 Eastbound Phase includes eastbound I-70 improvements, extension of the frontage road, and completing improvements to Clear Creek and the Greenway trail. This phase is currently unfunded. Project delivery method not currently determined.

Construction on the early projects begin as soon as Summer 2022, with major westbound I-70 construction underway 2023 through 2027.

For more information:

Project rendering of the Canyon Viaduct Alternative: 

 Canyon viaduct alternative