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RBC I All lanes have been reopened at Eastbound Twin Tunnels after a nine-month construction project widening the tunnel from two lanes to three.
On Dec. 9 at 5 a.m., crews began to switch traffic from the detour that has been in place throughout the project to the final configuration through the tunnel. To complete the realignment, crews worked around the clock in order to open the lanes within 72 hours.
While crews worked to get the lanes reconfigured, eastbound I-70 was reduced to one lane. For a portion of the traffic switch, one lane of eastbound I-70 was open on the existing detour route and eventually moved to its final alignment through the tunnel. All major construction is now complete on this project; finish work will be completed at a later date.
After just eight months of rock blasting, rock bolting and paving, the third lane of eastbound I-70 between east of Idaho Springs to U.S. 6, including through the Twin Tunnels, is open to traffic this week after a 36-hour traffic switch, weather permitting.
By widening eastbound I-70 through the Twin Tunnels, CDOT will be able to build an Express Lane for eastbound peak periods that uses the shoulder lane. Using the existing wide shoulder from Empire Junction through Idaho Springs, motorists will be able to travel the peak period shoulder lane by paying a toll only during peak travel times.
In return, they will have a reliable travel option with consistent speeds that will save motorists an average of 30 minutes in travel time.
The peak period shoulder lane will be constructed and open to traffic in summer 2015.
Although the new lane through the eastbound Twin Tunnel is part of the Express Lane, the fees will be waived until the peak period shoulder lane is complete and open. Meanwhile, motorists can travel the lane for free.
For additional information on the peak period shoulder lane, visit the project website at www.coloradodot.info/projects/i-70-eastbound.
The Kraemer-Obayashi Joint Venture is the contractor for the $106 million project. Minor work off the roadway will continue next spring and the tunnel project will be completed in the spring of 2014.