Construction work on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon reached a major milestone this week.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and the contractor it hired to complete a $15.7 million improvement project through the scenic 12.5-mile canyon has reopened the westbound on-ramp from the Grizzly Creek Rest Area.
It also completed repairs and paving of the westbound deck at Hanging Lake between Grizzly Creek and No Name, including improvements to accessibility ramps at the canyon’s four rest areas.
“The project team is excited to be at this point in construction where we can further reduce traffic impacts, particularly for our recreational community visiting Shoshone and Grizzly Creek,” said CDOT project engineer Josh Cullen. “The timing and phasing of this project was designed to accomplish work as efficiently and as early as possible. We are very grateful for everyone’s patience so far and look forward to completing the next steps to deliver these important infrastructure improvements.”
The eight-month improvement project includes resurfacing the interstate with a placement of thin-bonded polyester concrete overlay, replacement of bridge joints and bearings, new pavement markings and accessibility ramps at rest areas.
Most of the work is being done on 6.2 miles of the highway between mileposts 117 near the No Name Tunnel to mile marker 125 on the west side of the tunnel at Hanging Lake.
The work, which started in February, is expected to be completed by October.
The polyester overlay is the main part of the project.
It is being used because it is far more durable than normal concrete or asphalt, will last longer and require fewer repairs, CDOT officials said.
While work continues, motorists have been detoured to head-to-head two-lane traffic on the highway.
To minimize traffic delays, those head-to-head detours won’t occur on the weekends, but traffic still will be limited to single lanes.
CDOT also is reminding motorists to check for weather and traffic alerts before going through the canyon, adding that when they do to be sure to use both lanes until they reach marked merge points. Doing so allows for “zipper merge,” which lets traffic move though construction zones more efficiently and safely.
The transportation department recently completed a $5.9 million, high-tech variable speed limit and message signs project through the canyon.
The message signs allows CDOT to give motorists advance warning of upcoming dangers, such as accidents or rockslides, while the new variable speed-limit signs allow it to lower traffic speeds to help reduce accidents and improve traffic flow.
That project, which also included new closed-circuit cameras to monitor traffic conditions, also included the installation of three weather stations to monitor live how inclement weather is affecting road conditions.