Governor Jared Polis joins CDOT to announce construction has begun on the I-70 over Harlan Street bridge replacement project

Travel Advisory

September 13, 2022 - Denver Metro - The safety-critical project is among many others in the Denver region to replace aging bridges with new structures

Jefferson County — Governor Jared Polis announced today construction has started to replace the aging Interstate 70 bridges over Harlan Street in Wheat Ridge. The project is part of a larger effort of bridge replacements and repairs in the Denver region through the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 10-Year Plan. The plan prioritizes delivering the most critical projects in the state.

Jefferson County Commissioner Andy Kerr, CDOT Region 1 Transportation Director Jessica Myklebust, CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew, Governor Jared Polis, Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval breaking ground for I-70 over Harlan Street bridge replacement

“We are fixing Colorado’s roads and bridges, improving safety, and reducing traffic to save Coloradans time and money and make sure people can spend more time with their friends and family, and get where they need to go as quickly and safely as possible,” said Gov. Polis.

CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew added, “With close proximity to I-76, Federal Boulevard and Wadsworth Boulevard, the I-70 bridge over Harlan Street experiences the highest daily traffic volumes in this corridor, which leads to frequent deck and concrete cracking. For public safety and to avoid continual maintenance and traffic disruption, a full replacement of the bridge is necessary. This project is aligned with CDOT’s 10-year plan commitment to replace aged bridges throughout the region and state.”

Benefits of the project include a safer bridge with modernized infrastructure, upgraded guardrail, wider shoulders, improved intersection to prevent crashes, better traffic flow, and new sidewalks along Harlan Street under the I-70 bridge for safer accessibility.

I-70 over Harlan Street Bridge from street view

The project will also replace the old timber noise walls connected to the I-70 bridges over Harlan Street with new and improved concrete noise wall panels (the same panels now installed along I-70 between Tennyson Street and Lowell Boulevard).

Improvements to mobility and traffic flow at the Harlan Street, 48th Avenue, and westbound I-70 ramp intersection include:

  • Replacing the traffic signals at Harlan Street and W. 48th Avenue
  • Constructing new access to the westbound I-70 on-ramp from W. 48th Avenue
  • Adding a new traffic signal on W. 48th Avenue at the new westbound I-70 ramp entrance
  • Adding a raised island along W. 48th Avenue to prevent unexpected turning vehicles

In addition to this project, I-70 over 32nd Avenue bridge replacement in Wheat Ridge is already underway. I-70 over Ward Road bridge replacement in Wheat Ridge is in the final stages of design with construction estimated to begin in early 2023, and I-70 over Colfax bridge replacement is beginning design work.

Construction Phasing

The I-70 Harlan Street bridge replacement will happen in three phases and is expected to be fully completed by the end of summer 2024.

  • Phase 1 - rebuild the north side: crews will re-stripe I-70 between Wadsworth and Sheridan, which changes traffic patterns with narrowed lanes. Both directions of traffic shift to the south to begin removing and reconstructing the northern part of the bridge. Simultaneously, crews will work on replacing the traffic signal at W. 48th Avenue and Harlan Street.
  • Phase 2 - rebuild the center of the bridge.
  • Phase 3 - rebuild the south side of the bridge.

Contractor: American Civil Constructors
Cost: $25.6M

Schedule and Travel Impacts

Motorists can expect single lane closures during the weekdays on Harlan Street and W. 48th Avenue. I-70 will have shifts in traffic with no daytime lane closures. Single and double lane closures along I-70 at night (7 p.m. to 6 a.m., Sundays through Thursdays). There will be occasional overnight full closures of Harlan Street during bridge demolition. Motorists should be aware of narrowed lanes and reduced speeds through the work zone. Please drive with caution and follow all work zone signage.

Project Contact Information

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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