News

Weekend closure of I-70 in both directions from Washington Street to I-270 in preparation for the Mile High Shift

May 10, 2021 - Central/Eastern Colorado - Closure planned from 10 p.m., Friday, May 21, to 5 a.m., Monday, May 24

DENVER — As part of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Central 70 Project, eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 between Washington Street and I-270 will close from 10 p.m., Friday, May 21, to 5 a.m., Monday, May 24, so crews can prepare the roadway for the Mile High Shift. The Mile High Shift will move all six lanes of I-70 traffic from the existing viaduct onto the future westbound lanes of I-70 in the new lowered section, between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. This traffic shift will allow crews to then safely demolish the 57-year old viaduct and build out the future eastbound lanes of I-70.  

Other closures that will be in place during this weekend are:

  • The Colorado Boulevard on-ramp to westbound I-70  

  • The eastbound I-70 off-ramp to Steele/Vasquez 

Crews have worked day and night to complete the following critical construction activities prior to this historic traffic shift: 

  • Completion of the drainage pump station

  • Final excavation in the lowered section

  • Final installation of the lowered section walls

  • Lowered section paving and temporary striping

  • Building the eastern half of the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) bridge 

Traffic Impacts

  • Full closure of the Colorado Boulevard on-ramp to westbound I-70 - 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 19, to 5 a.m., Monday, May 24

    • Motorists will head east on 48th Avenue, turn south onto Holly Street and take Stapleton North Drive to westbound I-70.

  • Full closure of eastbound and westbound I-70 between Washington Street and I-270 – 10 p.m., Friday, May 21, to 5 a.m., Monday, May 24 

    • Motorists traveling westbound on I-70 will head west on I-270, to westbound I-76, continue south onto I-25 and exit onto westbound I-70. 

    • Motorists traveling eastbound on I-70 will head north on I-25, take eastbound I-76, continue east on I-270 and exit onto eastbound I-70. 

  • Eight-month closure of the eastbound I-70 off-ramp to Steele/Vasquez - beginning 5 a.m., Monday, May 24. Access to Steele/Vasquez via Colorado Boulevard to 46th Avenue

  • All other on- and off-ramps to both eastbound and westbound I-70 will be closed 10 p.m., Friday, May 21, to 5 a.m., Monday, May 24

Below is the status of the I-70 on- and off-ramps between Brighton and Colorado boulevards once the Mile High Shift is in place the morning of Monday, May 24: 

Ramp alignment after shift:

Westbound I-70

  • Westbound I-70 off-ramp to Colorado Boulevard - open

  • Colorado Boulevard on-ramp to westbound I-70 - open

  • Steele/Vasquez on-ramp to westbound I-70 – open

  • Westbound I-70 off-ramp to Brighton Boulevard – open

  • Brighton Boulevard on-ramp to westbound I-70 - open 

Eastbound I-70

  • Eastbound I-70 off-ramp to Brighton Boulevard - open

  • Brighton Boulevard on-ramp to eastbound I-70 - open

  • Eastbound I-70 off-ramp to York Street – closed permanently - access via Brighton Boulevard to York Street

  • Eastbound I-70 off-ramp to Steele/Vasquez - closed through January 2022 - access via Colorado Boulevard to 46th Avenue

  • Steele/Vasquez on-ramp to eastbound I-70 – closed permanently - access I-70 via Colorado Boulevard

  • Eastbound I-70 off-ramp to Colorado Boulevard - open

  • Colorado Boulevard on-ramp to eastbound I-70 – open

Ramps that were permanently closed earlier in the project:

  • York Street on-ramp to westbound I-70 – closed permanently

  • Westbound I-70 off-ramp to Steele/Vasquez – closed permanently 

Motorists can prepare for the Mile High Shift by remembering “Stop, Drop and Flow:” 

red light
Stop: The closures of the Colorado Boulevard on-ramp to westbound I-70, both directions of I-70 between Washington Street and I-270, Brighton Boulevard under I-70 and the I-70 eastbound Steele/Vasquez off-ramp are required to prepare for the new traffic configuration in the lowered section.

Yellow light

Drop: The Mile High Shift will include a gradual decline into the lowered section from Brighton Boulevard to approximately Purina. 

 

Green light

Flow: All six lanes of eastbound and westbound I-70 traffic will flow in the lowered section after the Mile High Shift. Motorists should be prepared for the potential of slower traffic when entering the lowered section initially due to the drastic change; however, the lowered section and tunnel between Columbine and Clayton streets is intentionally designed to allow for the normal flow of traffic.  

Motorists can plan to stay in this new traffic configuration for approximately 18 months once the final eastbound lanes are opened in the lowered section of I-70 and traffic is shifted into its final configuration.


Colo Blvd. map

46th Ave. closure map

Washington Closure Map

Media Tour Information

Media is invited to tour the lowered section of I-70 prior to the More Than an Interstate: Inside Colorado’s Largest Transportation Project exhibition and the Mile High Shift. This will be an opportunity for media representatives to get a first look into the progress made between Brighton and Colorado boulevards before we switch traffic off the viaduct into the new lanes by the end of May/early June.

When: Tuesday, May 11, 9–10:30 a.m.

Where: 3543 E. 46th Ave., Denver, CO 80216

  • Attendees will meet at the Project trailers (3543 E. 46th Ave., Denver, CO 80216) and will then caravan into the lowered section where there will be approximately four to five opportunities to get out and listen to Project representatives and walk around. Parking spots will be coned off for the media on the eastern end of the lot.
  • View map of office access directions.
  • Interview opportunities: Individual interviews with Project Director Bob Hays and Communications Manager Stacia Sellers will be offered following the briefing.

Additional Information: 

  • Please respond directly to Stacia Sellers ([email protected]) to RSVP for the tour so we can ensure proper social distancing protocols. 

  • All participants are asked to socially distance and must wear the following: mask, non-heeled boots (steel-toe boots not required), long pants, safety vest*, hard hat*.

  • We will provide access to aerial footage, Project photos and other visuals/graphics *We will provide extra PPE for those participants who do not have their own.

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options. 

About the Central 70 Project

The Central 70 Project will reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70, add one new Express Lane in each direction, remove the aging 57-year-old viaduct and lower the interstate between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. More information on the Project, including a list of the Project’s community commitments, are available at central70.codot.gov.

Stay Informed

  • Text Alerts - Text Central70 to 77948

  • Email Updates - Sign up for Project updates at c70.codot.gov 

  • Website - c70.codot.gov - Traffic Impacts page 

  • Watch progress on the webcam