I-70 construction in Glenwood Canyon set for spring

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon at No Name, just east of Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Starting in spring 2020, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will begin extensive roadwork on Interstate 70 westbound between the Hanging Lake and No Name tunnels.

The project, likely to start in early April and scheduled to last until October 2020, will resurface I-70 westbound and upgrade curb ramps in four phases.

The preliminary plan would close I-70’s westbound deck in Glenwood Canyon completely for the duration of the project.

“The earlier phases of this project will be done under what we call a ‘two-way, head-to-head traffic detour,’” said Todd Ipsen, CDOT project manager.

“What that means is, traffic from the westbound deck is going to be detoured in one direction onto the eastbound deck.

“The eastbound deck will have one direction going to the west and one direction going to the east.”

Exactly when and for how long I-70’s westbound deck will close to traffic remains in question. Officials anticipate selecting a project contractor in mid-November, who will then finalize a work schedule.

According to CDOT, phase one of the project would close one lane of traffic on both the east and westbound decks. Phases two and three, however, would include a full westbound deck closure and have tentative completion dates of May 22 and June 19, respectively.

“After phase three is completed, we are going to be moving to a four-day workweek Monday through Thursday,” said Ipsen. “Friday, Saturday and Sunday there will be no work in the canyon and traffic will change from a two-way, head-to-head detour to a single-lane closure eastbound and a single-lane closure westbound.”

The four-day work week will begin around the July 4 holiday and last until early September in an attempt to minimize traffic impacts during the height of the summer tourist season.

On average, 17,000 vehicles travel through Glenwood Canyon daily, according to CDOT data, and 6 million utilize the stretch of roadway annually.

The forthcoming project intends to resurface the westbound deck with polyester concrete; the same material that was used on the Grand Avenue Bridge.

“We are hoping to get a good 10 to 15 years out of this,” said Ipsen. “Even though it is going to be impactful now, hopefully it will minimize the impacts we are going to have to make in the future.”

With construction slated next year, project outreach and stakeholder coordinator Bryana Starbuck said numerous public meetings concerning project updates would occur as the construction nears.

“There is still a lot more information to come,” Starbuck said. “This is the initial heads-up.”


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