Central 70 Project achieves last major milestone on I-70 and is one step closer to substantial completion

Traffic is in its new and final configuration between Brighton and Colorado boulevards

August 31, 2022 - Denver Metro - Traffic is in its new and final configuration between Brighton and Colorado boulevards

Denver - The Colorado Department of Transportation’s Central 70 Project has successfully completed the last major milestone on Interstate 70 over the weekend, which marks the end of major construction impacts on the roadway. Motorists are now driving in a new and permanent alignment on westbound I-70 between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. 

“There was never a doubt that the main goal of CDOT was to complete the Central 70 Project within budget and on schedule, and we are on track to do that,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We are grateful for the public’s patience as we work to complete this critical project. Our number one priority is to deliver a high quality product to the people of Colorado. Having I-70 in its final configuration now allows motorists to safely travel along the corridor and let crews focus on completing the 4-acre cover park above the interstate.”

Central 70, between I-25 and Chambers Road, is one of Colorado's economic backbones. It is home to 1,200 businesses, providing the regional connection to Denver International Airport and carrying upwards of 200,000 vehicles per day. Since the Project’s groundbreaking on Aug. 3, 2018, I-70 has undergone a complete reconstruction. A total of 19 bridges have been constructed. Many of the bridges were removed and replaced and some were newly built, including the Union Pacific Railroad bridge, BNSF Railroad bridge and all of the streets that are now above I-70 in the lowered section. 

The Central 70 Project has reconstructed 24 ramps, bringing them up to today’s safety standards, including extending acceleration and deceleration lanes which will help to reduce crashes as motorists come on and off the interstate. This 10-mile stretch of I-70 now also has wider shoulders, or in some instances brand new shoulders, for motorists to safely pull off the interstate in case of an emergency.

The most dramatic change to this stretch of I-70 was the removal of the viaduct between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. For the first two and a half years of the Project, crews worked diligently next to the viaduct to excavate and build out the future westbound half of the lowered interstate. In May 2021, motorists were switched into a temporary configuration in the new lowered section as a part of the Mile High Shift. This configuration allowed crews to demolish the existing viaduct, which was completed within four months, and excavate and build the eastbound half of the interstate. More than 2.4 million cubic yards of soil was excavated. 

“More than seven million hours have been dedicated to building this Project,” said Lew. “It has been incredible to watch this Project come to life after an over 15 year study period. CDOT is proud of the partnerships we have developed with the Central 70 Project Developer Kiewit Meridiam Partners, the City and County of Denver, Northeast Transportation Connections, WORKNOW and our many dedicated subcontractors to make this Project successful. It has been a long time coming and we hope the public will enjoy the many safety improvements that come with the reconstruction of the corridor as well as the trip time reliability when the Express Lane tolling comes online in early 2023.”

Motorists were successfully moved into their permanent alignment on eastbound I-70 in the lowered section in July 2022. Eastbound and westbound traffic between Colorado Boulevard and Quebec Street was moved into its final configuration in August 2021 and between Quebec Street and Chambers Road in late 2020. 

Now that major work is complete on the interstate, the Central 70 Project’s main focus is on completing the 4-acre cover park over the interstate. The new playground for Swansea Elementary School that is a part of the overall cover park opened to students on their first day of school on Aug. 22. Trees and landscaping are currently being planted ahead of the winter season, the foundation for the future amphitheater is set, stadium lighting for the soccer field is in place and the concessions building equipped with a public restroom is nearing completion. 

Swansea Elementary School playground
Swansea Elementary School playground - Aug. 22, 2022

"We look forward to inviting the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea neighbors to join us for an appreciation event to celebrate the opening of the park later this fall,” said Lew. “While motorists have been impacted by various closures on I-70 over the past four years, residents have been impacted on almost a daily basis as we work to improve the neighborhood's north/south connections, build out new, ADA-compliant sidewalks, and place critical safety infrastructure including new crosswalks, street lights and stoplights. We recognize that this Project has been an inconvenience and this event will not only celebrate reconnecting the communities but also show our gratitude for the community’s patience during construction.”

While major construction on I-70 is now complete, various punch list items still need to be completed. Motorists are urged to drop distractions and maintain 55 mph to ensure the safety of crew members as well as themselves. Central 70 Project | Anniversary Video

I-70 Eastbound in Denver

What is next for the Project?

  • Cover park construction continues with the goal of opening to the general public this November
  • 46th South Avenue construction continues between York Street and Brighton Boulevard with completion scheduled for early fall
  • Express Lane testing will continue through the end of the year
  • Landscaping and punch-list items will be completed

Project Information 

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

Know Before You Go

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:

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.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • 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.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!

Download the COtrip App!

The new FREE COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!