Construction detour around eastbound I-70 tunnel near Idaho Springs began Monday

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. - Traffic on Interstate 70 is now being detoured around the eastbound tunnel near Idaho Springs.

The Twin Tunnels Design and Construction Project was created to alleviate congestion along the I-70 Mountain Corridor.

Drivers will see two major changes after the project is finished -- the eastbound tunnel will be expanded to three lanes and the bridge over Clear Creek will be reconstructed to diminish the curve at Hidden Valley. The westbound tunnel will still be two lanes after the project is finished.

To expand the eastbound tunnel, eastbound traffic started being diverted around the tunnel Monday morning. Traffic returns to the highway just west of Hidden Valley. The detour is about one mile long.

The shift will be in place for about eight months while the eastbound tunnel is widened.

"State-of-the-art blasting techniques will be used to widen the eastbound tunnel," according to the Colorado Department of Transportation's website. "Once blasting begins, four to six sequences will take place each day stopping traffic for 20-30 minutes each period."

CDOT has created a hotline with daily traffic impacts -- 303-327-4034.

Learn more about the project: http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/i70twintunnels