Eastbound I-70 Mount Vernon Emergency Escape Ramp Reconstruction

About the Project

The Colorado Department of Transportation started a project in mid-November 2023 to rebuild the existing emergency  escape ramp located along eastbound I-70 at Mile Post 257 just east of Genesee.  The project will make the ramp more visible and robust for truck drivers to see and use in the event of an emergency such as failed brakes or mechanical breakdown as they travel down the eastbound I-70 mountain corridor into the Denver region. Since the ramp must be closed during construction, the project will take place over the winter season when hot brakes are the lowest and truckers’ speeds are reduced.

The emergency escape ramp will close the end of November 2023, a few weeks after construction starts.

Project Benefits

  • A more robust and visible escape ramp
  • Improved advanced signage of the escape ramp ahead
  • Increased sight distance, which will give truckers more time to see the entrance and line up their vehicle to enter the escape ramp
  • Larger barriers between the ramp’s edge and the adjacent steep embankment, giving truckers additional confidence to enter the ramp
  • A pavement detection system that will trigger flashing lights on signs to notify speeding truckers to use the escape ramp
  • A better ramp design allowing for late entry should truckers miss the escape ramp entrance

Temporary Escape Ramp Closure and Traffic Impacts

  • During construction from the end of November 2023 through late May/early June 2024, the escape ramp will be closed to all traffic and there will be no escape ramp as trucks travel down eastbound I-70 from the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel to the Denver metro region.
  • While there are a series of signs warning truckers of the steep grade as they travel down eastbound I-70, CDOT will take additional safety measures during the ramp’s closure for construction, including more signage and notify truckers of the existing brake cooling areas.
  • Truckers must heed the speed limit and make sure their brakes and trucks are in safe working order before heading down eastbound I-70 into Denver. 
  • The speed limit for heavy freight vehicles will be reduced from 45 to 40 miles per hour from exits 253 to 258.
  • There will be an 11-foot width restriction on eastbound I-70 in the construction zone. 
  • During the first week of construction, Nov. 13 - 15, there will be overnight single lane closures from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. on eastbound I-70 at Mile Post 257 as crews set up temporary barriers and shift traffic for construction work.  There will be double lane closure from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Nov. 15
  • Traffic impacts should be minor. 
  • Throughout the project, the shoulder along the construction area will be closed 24/7.
  • There will be intermittent single lane closures during the day (off-peak travel hours) Monday through Thursday.  
  • There will be no lane closures during the weekends and holidays.

Work this Week & Lane Closures
I-70 Escape Ramp

Project Facts

  • Construction Cost: $15 million 
  • Contractor: Structures Inc. 
  • Timeline: Mid-November 2023 – late May/early June 2024
  • Location: Eastbound I-70 Mount Vernon Emergency Escape Ramp
    • Nearest Town/City: Genesee Park
    • Mile Point(s): 257
    • County: Jefferson