Silverthorne I-70 project slated to begin April 11; left-turn lanes at Exit 205 will be shortened
Pending weather, CDOT will begin the auxiliary lane project that will build a lane on the eastbound portion of the interstate between Exits 203 and 205
Drivers going through Silverthorne should expect to face night work near the 205 Exit for the next few months, starting on Monday, April 11.
As part of the Interstate 70 auxiliary lane project that will affect the 203 and the 205 exits, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be shortening the left-turn lanes under the interstate. This will affect drivers turning onto I-70 toward Denver and travelers turning from U.S. Highway 6 onto the I-70 ramp toward Frisco.
During night work, crews will finish by 6 a.m. in order to minimize the effects to commuter traffic.
Elise Thatcher, communications manager for the northwest region of CDOT, said on Thursday that CDOT will phase into night work because of uncertain weather in April.
“The first round of work really takes place underneath I-70 in that (U.S.) Highway 6 and (Colorado) Highway 9 area, so we’re going to be doing work right underneath I-70,” Thatcher said. “The main goal is to make sure that we’re getting that work out of the way as soon as possible and certainly before the busiest part of the summer season. They’ll have some of the biggest impacts, and we want to get it taken care of before there’s a lot more folks visiting the area and a lot more vehicles on the road.”
Thatcher said that travelers who use these onramps should budget for an extra 20 minutes of travel time because of construction impacts.
Silverthorne Town Council, representatives from CDOT and the construction firm tasked with the project met on March 23 to discuss potential impacts to the town when the large-scale project begins. In total, the project will affect the area between mile markers 202 and 207 of the interstate. From April 2022 until September 2023, crews plan to: repave and restripe eastbound lanes; widen the bridges over U.S. 6 and the Blue River; build deer fencing in both directions of the interstate between mile markers 203 and 205; improve trucker parking and build a longer deceleration lane at the 205 offramp. The department does not plan to deal with westbound lanes between Silverthorne and Frisco.
The goal of the project in 2022 is to complete any traffic delays before July, CDOT resident engineer Grant Anderson told the Town Council in March.
This project is one of several that will occur on this part of the I-70 corridor this construction season. Near Vail Pass, CDOT has planned to continue a nine-figure upgrade to I-70 that will also start this month, and that work will involve lane closures and rock blasting, stopping the interstate in both directions for up to 30 minutes. Construction on that project will continue through the summer and into the fall.
According to the project fact sheet for the auxiliary lane project, CDOT is encouraging travelers to use its CoTrip app in order to watch real-time impacts caused by its projects along the interstate across the state.
“Other projects on I-70 are happening in close proximity. These each have their own prime contractors and construction times,” the overview reads. “The I-70 construction teams are in close communication to help keep the public informed.”
State infrastructure and emergency services leaders also concluded that in the event that Glenwood Canyon’s portion of the interstate is closed due to mudslides, detours would go through Silverthorne. Specifically, westbound traffic from Denver will be routed north on state Highway 9 from Silverthorne to U.S. Highway 40 through Steamboat Springs to Craig, then back down Colorado Highway 13 to Rifle on I-70. Eastbound traffic will follow the opposite route.
Last year during mudslides, traffic was backed up as far north as Silverthorne’s Willowbrook neighborhood — almost 3.5 miles north of the ramp — and drivers began cutting through the Smith Ranch community.