5 things you need to know about the I-70 reconstruction

Posted at 7:18 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 21:18:29-04

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) says construction will start on the reconstruction of Interstate 70 in the Spring of 2018.

CDOT announced the timeline and more details about the project during a media tour Tuesday.

Here are the five things you need to know about the reconstruction of I-70.

1. Project will rebuild 10 miles of highway from Brighton Boulevard to Chambers Road. It will also tear down the 53-year-old viaduct bridge and take the interstate 30 feet underground and put a cap on top with 4 acres of green space.

2. All three lanes will be open in each direction during construction: CDOT also said crews will only do full closures of the highway at night or on the weekends. "The first day you drop a cone there is traffic impacts, we're looking to mitigate that as much as possible," said Keith Stefanick the project's lead engineer. 

3. 17 businesses and 56 homes are being demolished: CDOT said it must acquire the properties to expand the highway by adding one new express lane in each direction. "There are some really important protections put in place, this is a difficult process there's no doubt about it, but we do have to acquire these homes there's a lot of benefits we provide," said Rebecca White, a CDOT spokeswoman. White said anyone who was renting a home will receive 42 months of payments for the difference in the cost between their old place and new. They also have the option of using those payments to put a down payment on a house.

4. Construction will create 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs: CDOT said the construction company will be required to give 20 percent of those jobs to people who live in the immediate surrounding communities. They will also provide training opportunities.

5. The entire project will cost $1.2 billion and take four to five years to complete: "If we didn't do anything today, we'd be looking at a probably 65-minute commute from I-25 to Tower Road in the future," said Stefanick.

The I-70 reconstruction has also caused a lot of controversy. You can read more about efforts to stop the project here and why opponents say it will push out low-income households and worsen local air quality.