The trip from Copper Mountain along I-70 back to Denver is about to get just a bit quicker, and a lot safer.
Colorado Department of Transportation officials say the new three-lane section of freeway at the Twin Tunnels area, near Idaho Springs, is set to open within the next few weeks. Along with a new lane through the tunnel, the project also included improvements to the highway between the Hidden Valley exit and the bottom of Floyd Hill, a particularly curvy section of the road where mountain travelers often encountered a bottleneck after a day on the slopes.
The improvements may speed the trip back to Denver by 15 to 20 minutes on an average Sunday afternoon, but the big goal is reducing the number of accidents in the area, which can stop traffic for several hours.
The new tunnel lane isn't quite open yet, but crews are installing permanent guardrail and signs and removing the temporary barriers. This work will soon be followed by placement of the final layer of asphalt pavement allowing for final smoothness profiling and final striping.
The next major milestone will be opening three lanes of traffic on I‐70 from East Idaho Springs through the tunnel bore itself. This is scheduled to be done by the end of this year.
More information on the Twin Tunnels work is online at this CDOT website.
- Construction of the new I‐70 bridge over Clear Creek is completed and open to construction vehicle traffic to facilitate the removal of the existing bridge structure along with final road work between the tunnel and the Hidden Valley exit.
- Between the tunnel and the Hidden Valley exit crews have completed grading the roadway and are putting down about 2,500 feet of asphalt pavement. This work will be followed by installing guardrail, light poles and sign structures.
- Inside the eastbound tunnel bore, crews are pouring 40‐foot concrete liner sections, doing an average of three pours per week. Crews are scheduled to do the last liner pour in October before putting down the concrete slab for the driving surface through the tunnel.
Along with the road improvements, CDOT and local officials partnered to upgrade the frontage road and make improvements to Clear Creek for fishing and hiking
For more I-70 travel info, visit the Go I-70 website, where you can download a mobile app to help plan your driving trip to Copper Mountain. The app offers last-minute deals on food and lodging for travelers looking to avoid potential congestion on eastbound I-70. More travel information for I-70 is also online at this CDOT website.