Milling, paving operations creating afternoon delays on eastbound I-70 over Vail Pass

By Real Vail
June 24, 2011

Milling and paving operations, which are part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's I-70 West Vail Pass Safety Improvements project, have created afternoon congestion for motorists traveling eastbound through the work zone (between MP 180 and 190).

Drivers were anxious for more permanent pavement repairs following an uncommonly wet spring that riddled the pass with pot holes and temporary patches. In order to fully repair the highway, American Civil Constructors, Inc. (ACC) is milling the existing asphalt surface and then resurfacing the 10-mile stretch.

This work must be done during daylight hours due to the lynx habitat restriction on night work. Paving in the eastbound lanes has created notable localized congestion between 2 PM and 6 PM. Crews are expediting their work to complete eastbound paving operations in July; then paving will get underway in the westbound lanes. The project is scheduled for completion by late September.

The $9.5 million contract addresses resurfacing, bridge joint repair, barrier/guardrail replacement, drainage improvements and the installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems, such as variable message boards and sensors. While not creating a full eastbound closure, the milling and paving portion of the work introduces the greatest impact as crews must reduce traffic to a single lane through one-mile segments. The only full closures of the interstate will occur in September (see impacts, below) and will be short in duration.

GENERAL TRAFFIC IMPACTS: Through the project's completion by late September, crews anticipate being in the roadway Monday through Thursday from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M., and until noon on Fridays (there is no weekend work anticipated at this time). To minimize current impacts to eastbound travel, however, paving is only being done Monday through Thursday.

During work hours, motorists can expect single-lane closures in both directions. There will be NO IMPACTS TO TRAFFIC from noon on Friday through Sunday. Full traffic stops may occur, at times, but are not anticipated until September. These stops will be necessary for VMS placement over the westbound lanes, and will occur during low traffic periods. Initially, a section of the bike path near the summit will be rerouted during drainage work in that area – riders will be shifted onto a temporary alignment along the I-70 shoulder, with barriers.

For travel information, contact the project information office at (970) 566-6912 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (970) 566-6912      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or sign up for regular updates at GET WIRELESS NOTIFICATIONS: If you would like to receive e-mail and/or wireless notifications for this (and other) CDOT projects, please go to CDOT's web site at and select the green phone icon in the upper right corner (sign up for the “I-70 West, Denver to Glenwood Springs” list to receive messages on the Vail Pass Project). You may also contact ACC's public relations officer, Jody Randall, directly at (720) 244-7312 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (720) 244-7312      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

This project is receiving $2.8 million for safety improvement features (guardrail and barrier) from Colorado FASTER. FASTER (Funding Advancements for Surface Treatment and Economic Recovery) was established by the Colorado General assembly via Senate Bill 09-108 ( to fund the repair of Colorado's structurally deficient bridges and make safety improvements to Colorado's key corridors.

Specifically, the project involves the following:

June 6 through mid-August, paving & concrete barrier work: The work will mill and resurface the roadway between MP 180 and 190, both directions (the eastbound lanes will be completed first); driving surfaces will be rough during the milling phase; some sections of concrete barrier will be removed and replaced in this same work zone;

June 6 through late September, bridge joints: Crews will repair bridge joints on one structure near MP 179 (East Vail) and on eight structures between MP 180 and 190 (West Vail Pass);

June 6 through late September, guardrail, drainage improvements: Crews will replace some 500 feet of guardrail, primarily west of MP 180; drainage improvements at five locations through entire 20-mile zone;

September (estimate), new sign, sensors, camera: For westbound lanes, at MP 187 (three miles west of the summit) crews will install a new electronic Variable Message Sign (VMS). This sign will allow CDOT to better communicate safety messages to westbound travelers approaching the curves on west side stretch known as “the narrows.” The Intelligent Transportation System improvements will also include a trip travel indicator (providing another source of communication for trip times between Vail and Denver) and a traffic camera near the summit to show Vail Pass road and weather conditions.

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