I-70 westbound open through Glenwood Canyon | PostIndependent.com

I-70 westbound open through Glenwood Canyon

Travelerswait for traffic to start moving again late in the afternoon of Oct. 10 after an accident in the Glenwood Canyon construction zone halfted travel for more than an hour.
Randy Essex / Post Independent |

The Colorado Department of Transportation on Tuesday afternoon reopened the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon, which have been closed since July for a maintenance project.

The eastbound lanes, which carried head-to-head traffic during the work, will have only one lane open in stretches as workers remove lane dividers, CDOT Region 3 spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said. That work should be done by Friday.

“This is a huge milestone,” said CDOT project engineer Adam Cornely. “This project is essential to the long-term health and safety of the highway, and returning traffic to its original formation marks the final phase of work.”

It’s welcome news for area residents and other I-70 travelers who at times this summer experienced long delays because of accidents, broken-down vehicles or full closures to accommodate parts of the work. Drivers have had to deal with the head-to-head traffic configuration on the eastbound lanes between mile markers 117.5 and 126.5 since July 6.

Work began last April to improve more than 20 bridges on the elevated westbound lanes through that stretch.

Repairs were made to the bridge joints, and the existing asphalt surfaces were replaced with polyester concrete on the bridge decks in an effort to increase the lifespan of the highway surface and reduce the frequency of repairs, CDOT explained when the project began.

The new surface completed in the westbound lanes functions as a waterproof barrier, preventing corrosion between the concrete and the bridge deck. CDOT said that will extend the lifespan of the highway and reduce the frequency of repairs and impact for travelers. In addition to bridge deck repair, the project included 3,000 linear feet of bridge rail replacement and construction of a rockfall fence in the slide-prone area.

The work planned for this summer will be completed by Oct. 31, but three weeks of additional work has been tacked onto the project. This work includes replacing two bearing pads on eastbound I-70 west of Hanging Lake Tunnel, and repairing a barrier wall that was damaged during a rockslide in June. The new work will be completed under single-lane closures, and is scheduled for completion by Nov. 20.

Normal work hours are Monday through Friday during daylight hours. Some night and weekend work is anticipated. There is a 24/7 wide-load restriction of 10 feet, which will remain in place through the end of this week. A 12-foot width restriction will be in place from Oct. 23 through Nov. 20.

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