Vail Pass construction to involve lane closures, reduced speed limit
Work on westbound interstate will take place throughout the summer
Motorists are being asked to slow down on Vail Pass for a big bump on the bridge as work continues on a resurfacing project for the westbound lanes.
Elise Thatcher with the Colorado Department of Transportation says the speed limit is down to 40 mph for a tricky bridge-joint transition.
“It’s where one part of the bridge connects to the next part of the bridge,’ Thatcher said. “When there’s work taking place on that joint, sometimes there’s a bump or a drop, and it sounds like both in this case.”
CDOT contract partner Elam Construction is taking on the westbound Vail Pass resurfacing project; Elam says the right lane will be closed between mile markers 185 and 183 on Wednesday, and the left lane will be closed in that area on Thursday. Crews will be working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In addition to the bridge deck repair and resurfacing, the project will also add a few inches of height to the guardrail in an effort to make the highway safer for the traveling public.
Over the course of the last decade, states have been asked by the Federal Highway Administration to consider adopting 31-inch guardrails as their standard “because these systems exhibit superior performance at little or no additional cost,” according to the administration.
The higher guardrail, up to 31 inches from 27.75 inches, improves safety as the additional height “improved crash-test performance and increased capacity to safely contain and redirect higher center-of-gravity vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs,” according to the administration.
‘A hot mix’
The resurfacing work on westbound I-70 will take place on the roadway just east of Vail to just east of the Vail Pass summit (Mile Points 176-191).
“This project will focus on a hot mix asphalt (HMA) overlay,” according to Elam Construction. “The HMA will add approximately 10 years of life to the highway, a smoother road surface and will eliminate ruts and road damage.”
The work will continue throughout the summer and is expected to be completed by October.