CO 119 Boulder Canyon Improvements

There’s no denying that our daily lives have changed drastically in the last two weeks, and in some cases, lives have been turned upside down. Small town tourism industries, in particular, has been hard hit, and that doesn’t go without notice to the construction crews working in Boulder Canyon. Many sacrifices are being made from closing businesses and schooling children at home to canceling events and moving work operations to our homes where possible.

While telecommuting might work for some occupations, construction clearly isn’t one of those. Without people physically on site to do the work, the CO 119 Boulder Canyon project would continue to be delayed and never become a reality. But while road work is progressing for now, that’s not to say it is totally business as usual on the jobsite. As you know, safety is always a top priority for CDOT, and that includes safety precautions during this virus pandemic. Here are some of the things work crews are doing a little differently these days:
  • Crew members are refraining from going into jobsite trailers or project offices unless absolutely necessary, and when they have to, they aren’t doing so in groups.
  • Daily safety briefings are being done with just a couple of people rather than the entire crew.
  • Paperwork is being done in the cab of pickup trucks and daily logs of work activities filled out at home.
  • Project management meetings have been scaled back where possible, and any meetings involving more than a few people are being conducted via phone.
  • Everyone is being told to NOT report to work if they feel ill, and anyone who doesn’t feel well on the job is immediately sent home.
  • All office staff and non-essential personnel who can work from home are doing so.
  • Though all workers in the field wear gloves, hand tools are being cleaned more vigilantly and workers are instructed to wash or sanitize their hands after removing gloves.
  • Workers are bringing their own water bottle to the jobsite to avoid using a common water cooler.
  • Portable restrooms are being sanitized more frequently.
  • Steering wheels and machinery equipment controls are being wiped down, particularly if different people will be moving in and out of the equipment throughout the day.
  • Crews are communicating via radio instead of face-to-face. 
  • Flaggers are staying at least 6 feet away from stopped cars and will not be accepting any gifts from drivers. As drivers, please refrain from rolling down your windows and speaking with flaggers during this time. 

Upcoming Impacts

What’s Next

Now that rock blasting is completed, drivers can still expect to encounter travel delays with ongoing efforts to remove loose rocks and material from the slopes above the highway. Additionally, single-lane closures for trail and roadway construction will be ongoing throughout the summer and fall. Drivers should plan for delays of about 20 minutes.  

There is also the possibility that four to five four-hour full closures will be required to complete the pedestrian path extension for Boulder County. 

Construction is scheduled to be complete late 2020. However, weather could impact planned paving work. Paving operations require certain temperatures to ensure the quality of the asphalt. If weather affects the current schedule, paving will be done in spring 2021. 

Drivers should continue to check the project website, email updates and hotline for the most up to date travel information. See contact info below.

Traffic Impacts

Local detours remain available. From Boulder, a northern alternate route can be taken via CO 7, US 36 and CO 72. A southern alternate route is available via CO 93 and CO 72. Please note, motorists taking the southern alternate route should be aware of a current project on CO 72 in Coal Creek Canyon, between Plainview Road (mile point 12.3) and Pinecliffe (MP 24.6). Expect lane shifts and short delays at this work zone. 

CO 119 Boulder Canyon Improvements alternative routes map

Work this Week

24/7 Ongoing Impacts

  • Tuesday, April 7, please plan for minor delays near MP 33 at Boulder Falls for a concrete pour. 
  • The single-lane closure with a traffic signal has move from MP 38-40 to 38.5-39.5 (starting outside of the Alps Inn and extending below Fourmile). Travelers on Fourmile – please observe the temporary signal at the Fourmile Canyon Drive and CO 119 intersection. 
  • On Fridays, traffic volumes increase significantly along CO 119. Please plan for extra delays, up to 30 minutes, and allow for extra travel time. 
  • Daily full closures are COMPLETED, and Colorado Highway 119 is open at all times.
  • Motorists will be guided around the single lane closures with traffic control flaggers.
  • Embankment work continues near MP 33 and 39-40. Guardrail installation will impact MP 34-35. 
  • Intermittent 10-minute traffic holds may occur every Monday  - Friday between 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.  
  • One traffic signal zone will remain in place near MP 32, MP 38 and near MP 39, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, to preserve the work area 

Up to 40-minute delays are expected through the canyon during work hours. Speed limits are reduced to 25 miles per hour in the construction zones. The work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change. 
Please plan additional time to travel through the construction zones or to use the alternate routes of Colorado Highway 72 or Lefthand Canyon Drive during the full road closure. 

Trail Closure
The FULL CLOSURE of the Boulder Canyon trail at MP 40 where it crosses under CO 119, will be extending a mile and a half to the east, preventing through access from Boulder to the Four Mile trailhead. Crews will rehabilitate the highway structure and install underground rock protection for the next three months.  Eastbound cyclists will need to merge with CO 119 traffic through this area. Westbound cycling will be closed through the work area, but open beyond the project limits. 

These restrictions will remain in place throughout 2020. 

Creek Closure
The Boulder Canyon Creek will be closed to all uses between Canyon Park Drive (Boulder) and Boulder Falls until further notice. 

CDOT Provides Temporary Wifi Calling to Boulder Canyon

Following requests from the local communities to install cell service throughout Boulder Canyon, CDOT has explored a variety of options. Unfortunately, installing service through Verizon or AT&T was not an option. However, CDOT has installed temporary public wifi near the Fourmile Intersection and the east portal of the tunnel. This wifi will allow community members to not only make calls using Wifi calling, but also communicate using several different applications such as Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, Google Hangout, etc. The wifi is limited, but has been tested and proven to work throughout these areas.

SH119_Public WiFi_CDOT

To use the wifi calling, start by enabling Wifi calling in your phone settings. Then connect to CDOT_PUBLIC_WIFI. Users will need to agree to drive distraction-free and click "ok". Once this is complete, calls can be made and received.

Do not drive distracted.

CDOT does not encourage drivers to make calls or use any apps while driving. Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in anything—texting, looking after children or pets, talking on the phone or to a passenger, watching videos, eating, or reading—that takes a driver's focus away from the road. Distracted drivers cause an average 43 crashes each day in Colorado. In 2018, there were 15,673 crashes in Colorado that involved a distracted driver.

Finally, CDOT used 100% solar to power the WiFi system. This system will function throughout the night and several days without sun. This wifi will only be available throughout the duration of the project.

Project Facts

  • Cost: $31 Million
  • Contractor: Zak Dirt
  • Timeline: Winter 2019 - Summer 2020
  • Location: CO 119 between Boulder and Nederland
  • Alternate Route During Construction: CO 72 is a recommended detour. Learn more about the CO 72 Coal Creek Canyon project.

In March 2019, crews began repairing a 15-mile stretch of Colorado Highway 119, between Boulder and Nederland, which was damaged during flooding in 2013.

Work includes:

  • resurfacing 13 miles of highway, and entirely replacing two miles of highway;
  • building concrete islands to improve the roundabout in Nederland;
  • installing new highway directional and safety signage;
  • replacing multiple pipes conveying stormwater drainage under the highway;
  • scaling rock in selected areas to reduce rockfalls on the highway;
  • repairing soft shoulder areas immediately adjacent the highway;
  • replacing 29,000 linear feet of concrete or metal guardrail;
  • removing and replacing materials placed during emergency repairs;
  • excavating areas where the slope had failed in the storm;
  • redesigning and widening specific sections of the roadway;
  • reconstructing embankments; and
  • re-establishing native grass seed and erosion control to slopes that were disturbed during emergency recovery work.

Boulder County Trail Improvements

The project, in partnership with Boulder County, will extend and reinforce sections of the Boulder Canyon Trail. The 10-foot-wide, multi-use trail will be extended from Four Mile Canyon to Chapman Drive—adding two new bike-friendly tunnels under the highway and approximately 3500 feet of length to the trail.

Project Work Hours:

  • 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday - Friday
  • No night or weekend work is planned. However, some work zones will remain closed to preserve the work area.

Travel Impacts & Delays

Various delays from single lane & full road closures are expected throughout the project.  Motorist are strongly encouraging everyone to plan ahead to give yourselves enough time to reach your destination.

  • Expect various long-term single-lane closures managed by temporary traffic signals, and various short-term single-lane closures managed by flagging.
  • Plan for 40-Minute Delays.
  • Speed limits will be reduced to 25 mph in the work zones. Expect several stops through the corridor.  
  • A permit-load restriction will be in effect.

SH 119 Boulder Canyon Public Meeting Presentation

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