After years of planning, Vail’s new $30M Interstate 70 underpass opens Friday, Oct. 13 |

After years of planning, Vail’s new $30M Interstate 70 underpass opens Friday, Oct. 13

Daily staff report

The recently completed underpass connects the frontage roads on the north and south sides of Interstate 70.

VAIL — A grand opening ceremony to celebrate completion of the Interstate 70 Vail Underpass will take place on Friday, Oct. 13 to mark the official opening of the roadway. Members of the community are invited to join federal, state and local officials for lunch and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The activities will take place at noon beneath the new underpass.

There is no parking available at the project site so town of Vail shuttle buses will loop from the Lionshead parking structure and Donovan Park beginning at 11:30 a.m. to bring participants to the event. Bicyclists and pedestrians are asked to follow signs and traffic controllers to the ceremony. In case of inclement weather, the celebration will be relocated to Donovan Pavilion.

During the ceremony, representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, Colorado Department of Transportation, Town of Vail, Kraemer North America and other partners will be acknowledged. The state and town shared the cost, with the state contributing $21.4 million and the town $8.7 million.

The new $30.1 million underpass uses roundabouts to connect Vail’s neighborhoods along the north and south frontage roads. It also provides for improved emergency access, safe crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists and eases congestion at the roundabouts in West Vail and at the main Vail interchange.

Representing Vail’s largest infrastructure project, to date, the underpass is the culmination of more than 25 years of planning, plus five years of design, funding coordination and construction. It was identified in 1993 as part of the Vail Transportation Master Plan to address congestion at the original four-way stop intersections at the Vail interchanges. Final funding approvals occurred in the spring of 2015 with major construction beginning in March 2016.

“The ease of travel for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians will connect our community in so many ways,” Vail Mayor Dave Chapin said. “We can’t thank everyone enough for their patience during the construction process and we commend the construction management team for their tremendous coordination in getting the work done ahead of schedule and on budget.”

The underpass will be open to traffic later in the afternoon.

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