I-70 Eastbound Variable Speed Limit Signs between Empire and Idaho Springs

About the Project:

Beginning in late August 2021, The Colorado Department of Transportation is updating variable speed limit (VSL) sign infrastructure along eastbound Interstate 70 between Empire Junction and Idaho Springs, just west of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels. Work includes the replacement of 13 aging VSL signs and installation of 13 new VSL signs along the ten-mile stretch. The project will also add six new vehicle speed/volume detectors and four new weather detectors to gather real-time and consistent traffic and weather data.

Once completed, there will be 13 locations along this stretch of eastbound I-70 where there is a VSL sign on both the left and right side of the highway so all traffic can clearly see the speed limit and maintain continuous driver awareness of the current posted speed limit. The goal of the project is to create a more consistent travel time and decrease congestion along eastbound I-70, which in turn will increase safety. The map below shows the locations for the variable speed limit signs. The purple highlighted signs are new VSL signs, while the non-highlighted signs are already existing VSL signs.

Project Facts

  • Cost: $1.2 million  
  • Contractor: Morton Electric Inc. 
  • Timeline: Construction late August-December 2021 with testing of the signs continuing into early 2022
  • Location: Eastbound Interstate 70 between Empire Junction and Idaho Springs, just west of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels

Variable Speed Limit Sign on Eastbound I-70

Variable Speed Limit Sign
on Eastbound I-70


VMS Sign Project Locations

VSL Sign Project Locations

Click Image to Enlarge

Purple highlight circle= new sign location; No highlight= existing sign


Work Schedule

  • Main construction work is expected to begin in late-August and will continue through December 2021. There will then be a period of time following construction to test the signs before they are fully operational which is expected to last into early 2022. All operations are weather and temperature dependent, and this schedule could change.
  • Daytime work will take place Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Friday work will be on an as needed basis)
  • Overnight work hours Monday through Thursday nights between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. and Sunday nights 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Traffic Impacts

  • Daytime and overnight shoulder work will take place in the Eastbound Mountain Express Lane when it is normally closed to motorists during the week.
  • Some daytime and overnight single-lane closures may be needed to install the signage.
  • No full closures are anticipated.
  • Permitted lane closures will occur from Sunday nights through Friday afternoons. No impacts will occur on Friday and Saturday nights, and the Sunday night lane closures will have a later start time to accommodate Sunday evening eastbound traffic (10 p.m.).