10 blasts, tons of asphalt moved at Twin Tunnels project near Idaho Springs

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. - Crews working at the Twin Tunnels project near Idaho Springs have now set off 10 blasts and moved more than 2,400 tons of asphalt.

Last year, crews added a third lane for eastbound Interstate 70 traffic at the tunnels. This year, crews are adding room for a third lane in the westbound direction.

On April 1 and 2, crews moved eastbound I-70 traffic to a detour around the tunnel and westbound traffic to the eastbound bore.

Here's some of what crews have accomplished so far, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation:

- 11,700 square yards of asphalt were removed for the detour and 2,400 tons of asphalt were placed for the detour.

- There have been 10 blasts -- three outside the tunnel, one blast on the high wall cuts, and six inside the tunnel.

- 60 lineal feet of existing tunnel liner removed out of a total 675 lineal feet.

- 1,000 cubic yards of tunnel rock excavation out of a total 21,400 cubic yards.

- 280 rock dowels out of a total 1932 rock dowels (rock dowels are used to stabilize major joints in rocks).

- 160 hours of rock scaling on the high walls.

- 1,0000 cubic yards of rock excavation for the high wall cuts (higher up on the rock face).

CDOT officials are blasting and rock scaling at hours around the clock. 

CDOT said the blasting schedule will be "aggressive and may cause heavy delays."

Learn more about blasting, lane closures, and more: http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/i70twintunnels

--Project information

The Westbound I-70 Twin Tunnels project is a $55 million project to widen the westbound tunnel bore in Idaho Springs. However, while the tunnel will accommodate a future third westbound lane, CDOT will will not add a third highway lane at this time.

"With resources still in place from the 2013 project that widened the eastbound tunnel, it is estimated that doing this work now will save $5 million to $7 million," CDOT said.

"The Colorado Department of Transportation says the widening work is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year," 7NEWS traffic reporter Jayson Luber explained. Follow Luber on Twitter: https://twitter.com/7newstraffic and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaysonLuberTrafficGuy

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