CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — One of the busiest stretches of Interstate 70 is about to undergo a massive redesign.
By the end of March, the bulk of the construction work will kick off on the I-70 Floyd Hill Project, that will stretch from Idaho Springs to Evergreen.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) says one of the biggest additions will be a third lane to alleviate heavy westbound traffic. The project will also include fixing curves and building proper shoulders.
The $700 million project won't finish for three years, and work could potentially carry into 2027 if there are weather delays.
“This will be very, very challenging to drive anywhere,” said Brian Tracey, who lives in Clear Creek County and is also the president of the Clear Creek County Education Association.
Clear Creek went to a four-day school week partially because of Friday traffic on I-70.
“We really love this community,” Tracey said. “You have access to incredible skiing. And I’ve seen some of the models for the redesign. Aesthetically, they look beautiful. What’s ultimately going to be a sacrifice is from now until whatever year they’re going to finish.”
“You get on the frontage road and everybody’s taking it, so then that clogs up and it takes you more than 45 minutes to get to work on what should be a 10 to 15-minute drive,” said Joseph Calhoun, who lives in Empire and works in Idaho Springs.
While Calhoun shares the frustrations of other locals, he gives CDOT the benefit the doubt on this project.
“It’s a good idea,” Calhoun said. “Especially from Evergreen to Idaho Springs because you have that bottleneck, and it doesn’t empty until you can get to the express lanes CDOT put in a few years ago through Idaho Springs.”
CDOT says the construction and lane closure strategy will consider holiday weekends.
“The Floyd Hill Project will be mainly weekdays, but it’s likely some work will happen on weekends,” a CDOT spokesperson said. “However, the project is committed to limiting impacts during peak travel times, including holiday weekends.”
“This will hopefully alleviate a lot of what we’re experiencing now,” Tracey said.
CDOT is planning a meeting for early March to address the concerns of locals and other I-70 users. The location and time have yet to be determined.
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