DENVER -- Construction is ramping up for the Central 70 project this month with several big changes that motorists will notice.
One of the big changes is under I-70 itself. Brighton Boulevard between 44th Street and I-70 will be closed to traffic for one month. Crews are digging a big trench in the area in order to lay new drainage pipes.
“Those pipes are pretty deep in the ground. In order for crews to do that safely, they have to dig a big trench and that section needs to be shut down,” said Rebecca White, the Deputy Director of Communications for the Central 70 project.
In order to help drivers navigate around the road closure, CDOT has put signs up around the area to show the detour route.
The good news is that drivers will still be able to access I-70 while the road closure happens.
White says October was chosen for this project with one event in particular in mind.
“That was closely coordinated with the (National Western) Stock Show to happen in the month of October to be the least impactful to the stock show,” White said.
Some residents in the area that Denver7 spoke with say they’re okay with the construction.
“They’re doing a lot of work. They're redoing all the sewer systems and all the electrical. I mean they’re going through great lengths to make the city a lot better,” said Walt Czajkowski.
Czajkowski has lived in the area since the days before I-70 existed. He’s seen a lot of the change and says he’s okay with the construction.
“I can deal with that because we need it,” he said.
His next door neighbor, Joe Barajas, has also lived in the area for the past two decades and says he’s okay with the changes.
A detour for the Brighton Boulevard closure runs right in front of both men’s houses. Barajas says he sees cars get lost in the area all the time.
“They go up and they go over there, then they stop there. They don’t know where to go so when I’m out here, just go that way,” Barajas said.
He’s just hoping the construction will wrap up for Brighton Boulevard on time since the stock show is coming into town and brings a traffic nightmare of its own to the area.
I-70 lane changes
Overnight work has also begun on eastbound I-70 between Quebec Street and I-225.
Crews are installing concrete barriers that will shift drivers into the center lanes of I-70. Soon, that new traffic pattern will be implemented. There will be an emergency pull-off area every half mile for cars.
“The crews will shift traffic to the middle and begin to work outside. Once they've completed work outside, that'll flip flop,” White said.
Three lanes will remain open in each direction during the construction in order to keep traffic flowing. However, the speed limit in the construction zones will drop to 55 miles per hour.
“This is a mammoth undertaking for CDOT and their contractors and they need to get out there and get work going,” White said.
As the construction ramps up around I-70, CDOT has brought in additional safety patrol trucks to help stranded motorists.
The safety patrol will be able to tow broken down vehicles, help change tires or jumpstart batteries and more. They will also be able to help police clear crashes from the construction zones.
The service is free. Since June, the safety patrol trucks have helped more than 1,300 stranded motorists.
If your car breaks down in the construction area, call 511 for help.
Central 70 has installed a web camera on I-70 near Steele/Vasquez so visitors can watch the traffic and construction work over the next few years. You can see it here.
The Central 70 project is scheduled to add an Express Lane along I-70 from I-25 to Chambers Road. It will also remove the viaduct/elevated portion of I-70 between Brighton and Colorado boulevards and drop the highway underground.