Safety projects on tap for I-70 interchange

Construction work is under way at the Clifton interchange, widening the westbound exit from Interstate 70.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has embarked on a nearly $2 million project to improve the safety of the Interstate 70 interchange at Clifton.

United Companies of Grand Junction is realigning the westbound off-ramp and extending the deceleration lane to allow drivers more time to slow down and navigate the 45 mph ramp. Workers also will widen and lengthen the eastbound on- and off-ramps to give motorists more time to slow down to get off I-70 or speed up to merge onto the interstate.

CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said a state consultant studied I-70 interchanges in the Grand Valley a few years ago and identified the Clifton interchange as one in need of improvements.

“It’s not necessarily a high accident area. The ramps need to be lengthened by 600 feet to bring them up to (Federal Highway Administration) standards,” she said.

An average of nearly 22,000 vehicles pass by the Clifton interchange each day, making it one of the most heavily traveled stretches of I-70 in the valley, according to CDOT figures.

Motorists should be prepared for periodic, single-lane closures on I-70 in both directions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Construction should be completed in late October.

All of the $1.94 million came from Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery, a fund created last year by legislation that hiked vehicle-registration fees.

The fund accelerated the timeline for the project, which CDOT originally projected wouldn’t receive money until 2014, Shanks said.


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