DENVER - Interstate 70 at Pecos reopened hours earlier than predicted after the bridge was replaced in an operation that had closed that stretch since Friday night.
Both directions of I-70 were completely shut down between Federal Boulevard and Interstate 25 starting at 10 p.m. Friday. The closure was supposed to last until 5 a.m. Monday but crews finished their work about four hours ahead of schedule.
The old Pecos Street bridge was demolished and then crews rolled in the new 2,400-ton bridge from the side of the highway into place.
"This is awesome. Look at this thing," said north Denver resident Joe Wise. "How often do you see this?
Pecos Street will remain closed through August while crews pave, finish roundabouts, complete landscaping, install utilities, signals and permanent barrier, and build the medians.
The new bridge was moved into place at about 100-to-120 feet per hour.
"It's like a space shuttle, you know, like when the space shuttle moves? It's cool for like five minutes," said Wise.
"If I have to sit out here for 10 hours to see it actually move step-by-step, so be it," said north Denver resident Jennie Knoll.
"By constructing the bridge off-site and rolling it into place over one weekend, we eliminated the need of numerous highway closures over the duration of the project, greatly reducing the overall impacts to the traveling public," said CDOT Project Engineer Tamara Hunter-Maurer.
CDOT said if they had to build the bridge in place, Pecos Street would have closed for one year and I-70 would have had 20 to 30 full closures throughout construction. By building the bridge off-site and rolling it into place with a weekend closure of I-70, the project team was able to shorten the schedule by eight months.
The existing bridge was originally constructed in 1965 and the project replaces the bridge and the existing street signals on Pecos Street with two roundabouts.
The $18.6 million project is funded by the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, which uses a portion of vehicle registration fees to repair or replace poor bridges.