Rock-blasting operations and traffic holds begin on I-70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project

Travel Advisory

June 16, 2022 - Northwestern Colorado - Blasting needed to construct recreation path improvements and future auxiliary lane

Eagle County — Beginning next Tuesday, June 21, the Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor partner Kiewit Construction Inc. will begin periodic rock blasting work that will require up to 30-minute evening traffic holds for travelers on Interstate 70 and the Vail Pass Recreation Trail. Motorists should anticipate one traffic hold and additional delays on evenings when rock blasting work takes place. Work is anticipated to take place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Crews will conduct rock blasting and traffic holds once a day for no more than 20 days. The work can take place Monday-Thursday but is not allowed on weekends or holidays. Rock blasting and traffic holds are anticipated to wrap up by the end of July.

To sign up for email alerts about the project's schedule for the week ahead for rock blasting, please sign up at Enter your email address and then select the Northwest Colorado region and choose I-70 Mountain Corridor | West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes. On days when blasting is scheduled, the project will send an update including any day-of schedule changes. The goal of these updates is to give travelers on I-70 as much notice as possible. Customers can also sign up for updates by contacting the project team at [email protected] or 970-688-8233‬.

The first traffic hold and subsequent blasting are scheduled to occur on Tuesday, June 21, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Rock blasting is necessary to construct two miles of the new Vail Pass recreation trail on the west side of Vail Pass, between Mile Points 185 and 187. This project is included in the Summer 2022 planning guide: I-70 Mountain Corridor, which is posted here. Motorists are strongly encouraged to use to be prepared for traveling through this and other construction projects on the I-70 corridor. The Vail Pass Recreation Trail will also be significantly affected, please see below for more information.

Traffic Impacts for I-70

  • Eastbound I-70 will be closed at exit 180 (East Vail interchange) during traffic holds.
  • Westbound I-70 will be closed at exit 190 (top of Vail Pass interchange) during the traffic holds.
  • Highway traffic holds are estimated to take place once per day when blasting occurs
  • Highway traffic holds are anticipated to last 30 minutes, though motorists should plan for additional delays due to the time required to clear held traffic.
  • Highway traffic holds will only occur Monday-Thursday.
  • Highway traffic holds will occur once in the evening, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., to minimize travel impacts and delays. The exact time of when holds begin will vary depending on the day.
  • There will only be one blasting operation per scheduled day.
  • Rock blasting and traffic holds can take place Monday-Thursday but are not allowed on weekends or holidays.

Traffic Impacts for I-70 Trail

  • Westbound trail users will be held at the Black Lakes Picnic Site.
  • Eastbound trail users will be held approximately 3 miles up the 20-foot-wide path section, just before the cul-de-sac, about halfway up Vail Pass where the trail crosses under I-70.
  • Construction flaggers will stop trail traffic at those holding locations.
  • Trail traffic holds are estimated to take place once per day when blasting occurs
  • Trail traffic holds are anticipated to last as long as an hour and possibly longer.
  • Trail traffic holds will only occur Monday-Thursday.
  • Trail traffic holds will occur in the evening between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Trail users are strongly advised to avoid using the trail during this time.
  • There will only be one blasting operation per scheduled day.
  • Rock blasting and trail traffic holds can take place Monday-Thursday but are not allowed on weekends or holidays.
  • Shrine Pass Road
  • Shrine Pass Road will be closed during blasting activities to ensure no one uses this road as a detour. The road is located at the top of Vail Pass.

The construction team will share blasting information and schedules using the project’s communications channels. Motorists and trail users are encouraged to change their travel plans to avoid I-70 West Vail Pass and/or the Recreation Trail, during the scheduled blast times. After the rock blasting activities, the recreation trail and I-70 will be reopened as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Work to improve safety and operations on Interstate 70 from the East Vail Exit at Mile Point 180 to the Vail Pass Rest Area Exit at MP 190 started last year. The first construction season culminated with the opening of a new emergency truck ramp near MP 182. This year’s work includes relocating a two-mile section of the Vail Pass Recreation Trail and building two bridges to cross the trail over Black Gore Creek. The section of the trail between MPs 185 and 187 needs to be moved farther from I-70 to facilitate the addition of an eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane and the realignment of substandard curves.

Other work planned for 2022 includes completing the westbound highway closure system at the MP 190 interchange, starting construction on the westbound I-70 bridge at MP 185.3 and putting down temporary asphalt for traffic shifts needed during the 2023 construction season.

Construction will occur April through November each year through 2025. Other improvements being made by this project include:

  • Adding an eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane with widened shoulders between MPs 185 and 190
  • Modifying curves and widening shoulders along westbound I-70 at MPs 186 and 188
  • Rebuilding the eastbound and westbound bridges at MP 185.3
  • Building six wildlife underpasses and constructing wildlife fencing
  • Installing highway closure systems at both ends of Vail Pass
  • Improving signage and incorporating Active Traffic Management systems
  • Installing variable speed limit signs

Vail Pass Rest Area

  • The Vail Pass Rest Area continues to be closed through October 2023 for reconstruction.
  • Drivers can use exit 190 (Vail Pass), but there will not be restroom facilities available.
  • CDOT encourages motorists to use other rest areas nearby, including the Gateway Visitor Center in Georgetown and the Edwards Rest Area in Edwards.

Other I-70 Projects & Glenwood Canyon

Other projects on I-70 are happening in close proximity. These each have their own prime contractors and construction teams. More information on these projects can be found on the project specific websites or by visiting for real time impacts on CDOT projects across the state. The I-70 construction teams are in close communication to help keep the public informed. Motorists should anticipate safety closures of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon if a Flash Flood Warning is issued.

Project Information

For additional information about this project:

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!

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