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Mile High Shift: Central I-70 reopens Monday as traffic shifts to new lanes

Posted at 5:01 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 15:16:00-04

DENVER — The weekend-long closure of Interstate 70 in Denver will make way for the Mile High Shift come Monday morning.

Both directions of travel on I-70 through parts of the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood in north Denver will be shifted onto the completed westbound lanes of the lowered section. The shift begins at 5 a.m. Monday.

In the meantime, the interstate was closed from Washington Street to I-270. Eastbound traffic was diverted to I-25 north to I-76 east and then onto I-270 south. Westbound traffic was diverted onto I-270 north to I-76 west and then onto I-25 south.


While I-70 traffic is diverted onto the westbound section – each direction will have three lanes of travel – crews will continue demolishing the aging viaduct and work to complete the eastbound section.

The Central 70 Project is expected to be complete by February 2023 with “substantial completion” milestone by the end of 2022, according to a Denver Post report.

The project includes two tunnels. The westbound tunnel is already complete and will see traffic beginning Monday morning.

I-70 reopens, but what's next?

The tunnels will have nine enormous jet fans just outside the east side exits that will be used for two purposes: Air quality control that may be needed in case of traffic jams, and to clear out any smoke from potential fires inside the tunnels. The tunnels will also have a deluge system that will drop 3,500 gallons of water per minute to flood a potential fires inside.

A four-acre cover park will sit above the tunnels, next to Swansea Elementary School. The park is expected to have two soccer fields, an amphitheater, splash pad and playground.