I-70 reopens; Mile High Shift completed as viaduct demolition begins The Denver Post

Interstate 70 reopened early Monday morning after a planned weekend closure went without a hitch. Over the weekend, I-70 was closed through downtown Denver as the Central 70 project went through one of its most critical steps.

The Colorado Department of Transportation spent the weekend shifting the traffic pattern from a decades-old viaduct to a new lowered section, dubbed the Mile High Shift.

The highway was closed between Interstate 270 and Washington Street as crews worked around the clock to move all six lanes of I-70 traffic to where the future westbound lanes of I-70 will be. It clears the way for demolition of the 57-year-old viaduct and the build-out of the future eastbound lanes of I-70.

“We are incredibly proud of everything our crews have accomplished since groundbreaking in August 2018 and over the weekend to make this historical shift happen,” said CDOT Project Director Bob Hays in a news release. “We want to thank motorists for their patience during this closure as we know that detouring around your normal route can be inconvenient, but we were able to perform critical work all while keeping motorists safe. We ask now that motorists leave earlier than they normally do if they are planning on driving through this section of I-70. It will take time for folks to get acclimated to their new surroundings over the next week or two and there will no doubt be slow-downs.”

In addition to the switch onto the new lanes of I-70, here is a list of the ramp realignments as of today:

Westbound I-70

  • Colorado off-ramp – open
  • Colorado on-ramp – open
  • Steele off-ramp – closed permanently
  • Steele on-ramp – open
  • York on-ramp – closed permanently
  • Brighton off-ramp – open
  • Brighton on-ramp – open

Eastbound I-70

  • Brighton off-ramp – open
  • Brighton on-ramp – open
  • York off-ramp – closed permanently
  • Steele off-ramp – closed temporarily
  • Steele on-ramp – closed permanently
  • Colorado off-ramp – open
  • Colorado on-ramp – open

The next step in the Central-70 Project is to finish demolishing the old I-70 viaduct and build out the eastbound lanes. Demolition actually began Saturday as crews started just east of Brighton and just west of Colorado boulevards. The nearly 60-year-old connector will be coming down over the next five months.

“The viaduct demolition represents Denver’s incredible growth over the past six decades,” said Hays. “This demolition is a major transportation milestone, but also a moment to pause and reflect on how the Denver metro area has evolved since the 1960s. We’re excited to start this next phase and continue to help contribute to the state’s future.”

Demolition will occur mostly during the daytime. Only local street closures and overnight I-70 lane and ramp closures will be required for the next step.

The project is about 70% complete and is scheduled to take its final configuration by late 2022. The $1.2 billion project will wrap up in 2023 when crews put the final touches on the 10-mile stretch.

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