Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel History

EJMT History Timeline

Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel Timeline

To alleviate the distance and rigors of travel over US Highway 6 at Loveland Pass , the Colorado Department of Highways developed plans for two, two-lane tunnels beneath the Continental Divide. Here's a look at everything that went into making the idea of this tunnel a reality:

  • 1941-1943- An exploratory “pioneer” tunnel was constructed under Loveland Pass.
  • 1963-1965- A pilot bore was drilled through what is now the site of the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel.
  • October 1967- Bids opened for construction of the “Straight Creek Tunnel”, now known as the Eisenhower Tunnel and the project was awarded to Straight Creek Constructors made up of venture members Al Johnson Construction Company (Minneapolis), Gibbons and Reed Company (Salt Lake City), Kemper Construction Company (Los Angeles) and Western Paving Construction Company (Denver).
  • March 1968- Construction of the westbound tunnel bore (Eisenhower) began. Construction was planned for three years but actually required five years due to unanticipated hazards and the harsh climate.
  • July 1972- Engineers at the Colorado Division of Highways began design of the second bore, now known as the Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Bore.
  • March 8, 1973- The Eisenhower Tunnel opened to two-way traffic.
  • August 1975- Construction on the eastbound tunnel bore (Johnson) began. The project was awarded to Kiewit/Brown and Root. Construction took a little over four years.
  • December 21, 1979- The Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Bore opened to eastbound traffic. The Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel was now complete with two lanes of traffic in each direction of travel.

Click here to view an album of Eisenhower Tunnel photos, including the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel.