Twin Tunnels detour adjusted for Central City

Linda Detroy
Gilpin County

The eastbound off ramp from I-70 to the Central City Parkway will be closed for about 10 days beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, as Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) crews prepare for work on the Twin Tunnels project. This is slightly better news than the Central City Council received during a Feb. 5 work session when CDOT I-70 Mountain Corridor Manager Jim Bemelen told the Council that the ramp would be closed for a month, beginning Feb. 11. City Manager Alan Lanning told the council his rough estimated showed that closure could have cost the city about $195,000 in revenue and taxes.
“We called CDOT after the work session,” Lanning said Tuesday. “They seemed very understanding and are doing what they can about reducing some of the impact of the closure.”
In addition to shortening the time frame of the closure, CDOT is helping to provide variable message signs to alert motorists about the closure and detour routers, providing a detour map for use by the city and businesses, and providing flyers for businesses to hand out.
The Twin Tunnels project is intended to increase safety and accessibility along the mountain corridor by adding an eastbound lane from the east Idaho Springs interchange to U.S. Highway 6, including widening the eastbound tunnel. The project also includes rebuilding the eastbound bridge over Clear Creek to flatten the curve at Hidden Valley.
Work on I-70 is expected to begin in April and run through the end of the year. CDOT is building a detour to reroute all eastbound traffic onto the frontage road that parallels I-70 and Clear Creek. The work being done at the Central City Parkway off ramp will lower the grade of the ramp to tie it in with the frontage road.
The project will involve blasting to widen the tunnel, and all motorists can expect major delays while traffic is cleared and stopped for blasting sequences.