Two-way traffic zone in canyon is about to end |

Two-way traffic zone in canyon is about to end

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 head-to-head traffic construction zone that has been in place along a 9-mile stretch of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon since early July could be removed by the end of next week.

According to Tracy Trulove, Colorado Department of Transportation Region 3 communications manager, construction crews have completed the concrete resurfacing work on the westbound lanes that was part of the larger $9.9 million project.

“They have a couple more days of striping on the westbound lanes, and are now aiming to dismantle the head-to-head zone by the end of next week,” Trulove said Tuesday.

“We will still have some delays during the dismantling process,” she said.

Once westbound traffic is shifted back to the usual westbound lanes, there will also likely be some single-lane closures in both the eastbound and westbound lanes while guardrail replacement and other work wraps up, Trulove said.

Motorists have had to deal with the head-to-head traffic configuration on the eastbound lanes between mile markers 117.5 and 126.5, including routine traffic delays, 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 also functions as a waterproof barrier, preventing corrosion between the concrete and the bridge deck,” CDOT said in a July news release.

The head-to-head traffic arrangement has been a source of frustration for motorists through the height of the busy summer vacation season, especially during backups whenever there was an accident or vehicle breakdown.

Trulove didn’t have a specific number of traffic incidents since the two-way zone was put in place. But CDOT did have tow trucks on regular stand-by through most of the summer to try to clear any disabled vehicles as quickly as possible, she said.

“We did bring in a larger fleet of heavy tow trucks courtesy of CDOT to aid in getting clearances accomplished more quickly,” Trulove said. “In most cases we were able to get things moving again within 15 minutes.”

However, as traffic volumes have subsided this fall, there have been times, including two instances this past weekend, when lengthy backups occurred due to a minor accident late Saturday and a reported broken-down bus Friday afternoon.

For the most part, Trulove said the decision to put westbound traffic on the eastbound lanes for the past three and half months was a good one for ease of completing the construction project on time.

Until the project is completed, motorists should still anticipate reduced speed limits and possible delays, she said.

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