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New eastbound I-70 tunnel opens in Central 70 Project

central 70 eastbound tunnel.jpeg
Posted at 10:56 AM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 09:19:58-04

DENVER — A brand new tunnel officially opened to the hundreds of thousands of eastbound drivers who use Central 70 Monday morning after a big weekend closure to help make the shift happen.

The new tunnel looks different from the old one with wider lanes and shoulders and an added express lane. There’s also a fifth lane that’s an egress lane that will be used for drivers to get in and out of the express lane.

“I know that we've been under construction for quite a number of years, and we've been in narrow lanes. We've had, if you're driving that outside lane, you're actually going over some of the inlets that we've installed for drainage. And so all of that will be removed when we make this switch,” said Bob Hays, Colorado Department of Transportation Central 70 project director. “You'll no longer be driving over. You'll no longer have those narrow lanes with the barrier right next to you, very little shoulder.”

To get ready for the big switch, CDOT had to put in a detour over the weekend. Beginning Friday at 10 p.m., eastbound I-70 closed from Washington Street and I-270 until Monday at 5 a.m. The detour took drivers up I-25 to I-76 to I-270 and then back onto I-70.

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Westbound drivers will still have the narrow lanes and no shoulders while work continues for the next two months. Workers need to make several changes to that tunnel, which had been configured for two-way traffic, before they re-stripe and make it like the eastbound side.

Express lane testing will continue, and the additional lane in each direction will continue to open in phases along the corridor.

Central 70: New tunnel opens for eastbound traffic