CDOT to begin I-70 resurfacing
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Interstate 70 traffic restrictions in Glenwood Canyon will increase starting Monday when major resurfacing begins on eastbound lanes between the No Name and Grizzly Creek exits.
The work will result in traffic being reduced to one lane in each direction from the No Name to Hanging Lake tunnels. It also will force the closure of some exit and entrance ramps, resulting in some detours involving the No Name, Grizzly Creek and Shoshone interchanges.
It comes as traffic already is reduced to two lanes at the Hanging Lake tunnels because of work being undertaken to repair a crack in the eastbound tunnel.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is proceeding with the resurfacing project despite the emergency work being done at Hanging Lake.
“As a matter of fact it’s probably good timing because the lane is already reduced through the tunnel,” CDOT spokesperson Nancy Shanks said. “It’s already quite an obstruction, let’s face it.”
The alternative would be to do the resurfacing at some other time, lengthening the amount of time traffic is restricted in the canyon.
Traffic already is traveling in both directions in what are normally the westbound lanes at the Hanging Lake Tunnel. The westbound lanes will be used for two-way traffic between Hanging Lake and the No Name tunnels for 24 hours a day during the resurfacing, which is projected to be completed before July 4.
Speed limits will be reduced to 40 mph through the construction zone.
CDOT is warning motorists to be prepared for delays of up to 25 minutes due to the two projects. Shanks said motorists probably can expect to see problems when traffic peaks or if accidents occur. She said traffic has been running smoothly during the Hanging Lake work, which is expected to continue throughout much of the year.
The resurfacing will consist of removing the existing asphalt, regrading the base material, and replacing the pavement with more durable concrete.
The asphalt pavement originally installed in Glenwood Canyon is reaching the end of its service life and CDOT plans to replace it with concrete in phases over several years.
CDOT has contracted to pay Concrete Works of Colorado, Inc., of Lafayette $3.9 million for the initial phase.
CDOT has agreed to a request by rafting companies to use flaggers at the top and bottom of the westbound on-ramp at Grizzly Creek so they can exit there to reach the Shoshone exit boat launch.
The I-70 eastbound on-ramp at Grizzly Creek and eastbound I-70 lanes from there to the Shoshone exit will remain open only to local traffic needing access to Shoshone. Because the eastbound off-ramp at Grizzly Creek will be closed, private boaters and motorists at large will be able to access Shoshone from the west only by going east to Hanging Lake, west to Grizzly Creek, and then east to Shoshone.
Rafting companies asked for special accommodations from CDOT to help them keep to their launch schedules. Despite initial estimates from CDOT that as many as 15 to 20 raft vehicles an hour might be involved, Ken Larson, a partner in Whitewater Rafting in Glenwood Springs, said he thinks the actual count will be only about five an hour at the most.
CDOT and the companies expect to begin using the flaggers around the start of June, once flows start dropping on the Roaring Fork River and outfitters begin switching over to trips on the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon.
Ken Murphy, general manager of Rock Gardens Rafting in No Name, praised CDOT’s efforts to try to meet the industry’s needs.
“They’re really working with us and really being understanding of the situation we’re in and the time constraints we have,” he said.
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