Changes coming to Vail I-70 projects
VAIL — It’s still going to take a long time to finish a new underpass beneath Interstate 70 in Vail, but work is moving quickly, and changes are coming this week.
Starting Monday, traffic will shift to the north side of the interstate between the main Vail and West Vail interchanges. Traffic will be moved into the westbound lanes, so work can begin on the underpass bridge beneath the eastbound lanes. Work has been finished on the bridge carrying the westbound lanes.
As has been the case for the past several weeks, traffic will be reduced to single lanes separated by a barrier. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, work on the bridge over the eastbound lanes is expected to be complete July 1.
After that, the project’s focus will turn to the north and south frontage roads.
“We’re happy with the progress we’ve made to date, but there is plenty more work to come,” Colorado Department of Transportation Project Engineer Matt Figgs wrote in a press release. “The shift to the north side of I-70 will essentially mirror the traffic shift I-70 motorists have become familiar with this past month. We want to reiterate the importance of driving with caution and at the posted 45 mph speed limit through the construction site.”
Work hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but the lane closures are in effect throughout the project. Depending on weather and other factors, night or weekend work may be needed.
The new underpass will link Vail’s frontage roads roughly halfway between the main and West Vail interchanges. Both town and state officials have long said the link is needed to take traffic pressure off the interchanges and will allow the town to provide more efficient emergency services.
The $30 million project — to which the town contributed about $9 million — is expected to be complete in December of 2017.
The underpass isn’t the only I-70 project in Vail this year. The Colorado Department of Transportation is also building a new chain-up station for heavy trucks along eastbound I-70 in East Vail.
Crews this week will start excavation for a barrier wall for that project, and that will affect traffic on the frontage road. During the excavation, the road will be narrowed to one lane, and flaggers will direct traffic through the construction area. Expect delays of up to five minutes.