Cone Zone Orange Meets Fall Gold
Fall Paving Expects Delays, Detours
If the regular cone zone season doesn’t create enough frustration and safety concerns for both the traveling public and road crews, add to that a pandemic and historic wildfires forcing on-and-off closures of major highways and now just issued this morning flash flood warnings, and well, it’s easy to “give ‘em a brake.” So please do so if you plan on going anywhere other than a trip around your block (unless of course, you live in West Park, where that is even challenging these days!)
Here’s a cone zone update from Leadville Today, from the local re-paving project to the planned interruptions along I-70 in Glenwood Canyon which could push some Highway 82 traffic into Lake County this weekend to some interesting stats from the Colorado State Patrol concerning Independence Pass, #buckleup for some heads-up-on-the-highway news!
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and prime contractor, United Companies, issued an update concerning the milling, paving and eventual re-striping of Highway 24/Harrison Ave. Last week the crews began milling operations on all side streets intersecting Harrison from 2nd through 9th Streets in downtown Leadville. While crews have been accommodating especially to locals, the bottom line is, “THERE WILL BE NO PARKING IN THE WORK ZONES.”
The actual paving will not begin until the Wednesday after Labor Day weekend, on September 9. In a recent communication update, CDOT explained that “the schedule for paving had to be changed based on the availability of supplies and increased traffic due to the I-70 closure.”
Fortunately, most residents get and just hoping that the whole project gets buttoned up before the snow flies. So here’s the latest: US 24 will be paved first and the approaches (side street intersections) will be done after. Motorists should expect shoulder closures, one-lane closures, and short-term side street intersection closures. The project is scheduled to conclude at the end of October. Alas, the famous last words of the Highway 24 and Mountain View stoplight. . . . stay tuned.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please pay attention to the no parking signs during milling and paving operations. Vehicles parked in the work zone will be towed.
Tunnel Closures for Paving Thru October
**Update** September 1 – As if there wasn’t enough happening on the #highways, last night (8/31/2020), #CDOT began paving work on the I-70 Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel. Travelers should be advised of overnight closures of the tunnel through early October. According to @Colorado Transportation officials “Crews have been working through the summer on road repairs in the tunnel and are now ready to mill and pave the surface which is critically needed to improve safety. The tunnel will be open, but all traffic will travel through one tunnel bore while the other bore is closed for paving operations. Ten to fifteen-minute travel delays are expected from 10 p.m. to midnight with minor delays for the rest of the nighttime hours. “ Here are the details concerning travel impacts:
- The eastbound tunnel will close overnight Monday – Thursday, 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. from August 31 to September 3 and from September 8 to 18. Traffic will be detoured through the westbound tunnel. No planned closures over the Labor Day weekend, September 4 to 7.
- Once the eastbound side is paved, the westbound tunnel will close overnight for paving September 21 to October 8. Traffic will be detoured through the eastbound tunnel.
- Arrangements have been made to ensure emergency vehicles will be able to get through quickly during the closures.
The schedules above could change depending on the weather and other factors. It’s best that overnight travelers check cotrip.org for the latest information on road work, closures and other conditions.
I-70 Thru Glenwood Canyon Update
**Update** August 29
Motorists should be prepared for a potential closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon due to heavy rainfall that could trigger flash floods, mudslides, rockfall or other hazards to travelers. Heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Burn Area is expected up to and during the period of the Flash Flood Watch, which is in effect until 10 a.m. Motorists should take extra precaution before heading out onto I-70.
August 28 – Motorists should plan for heavy traffic on Interstate 70 this weekend and will encounter closures in Glenwood Canyon due to continuing repairs and weather impacts. Denver metro motorists heading into the mountains should expect variable conditions as well. A hazardous weather outlook has been issued for the central mountains, including I-70 and much of the Western Slope. The forecast includes rain and the potential for heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday, which could cause mudslides, debris flow or rockfall onto I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. Burn areas from the Grizzly Creek Fire have increased vulnerability for mudslides and rockfall. It is possible that any of those impacts could require a safety closure in the canyon. Ongoing repair work to power poles, by Xcel, will also likely require closures on Saturday in Glenwood Canyon.
I-70 reopened on Monday after an extended closure due to the Grizzly Creek Fire. In addition to likely closures, motorists in Glenwood Canyon should be prepared for reduced speeds and no stopping in the canyon. Rest areas and the bike path continue to be closed for public safety.
Highway closures can last for as little as a few minutes or for as long as several hours. When drivers set out on a trip, especially through high country roads or the I-70 mountain corridor, it would be wise to have the car supplied with an emergency kit. The kit should contain at the very minimum: water, snacks, flashlight, and a blanket. Remember to also carry water for your pets if you’re traveling with animals. You may even consider packing some items to keep you or children occupied while waiting in the car. Activity books, colored pencils or a deck of cards can help pass the time.
I-70 ALTERNATIVE ROUTES
CDOT recommends that travelers plan for alternative routes to I-70 when there is heavy rain in the forecast, in order to be prepared for a closure. Expect delays when using detour routes and possible construction impacts on US and state highways. Recommended alternative routes will help travelers arrive at their final destination (see below). CDOT urges motorists to avoid relying on navigation apps that may take motorists on forest roads and over mountain passes.
Through traffic: CDOT recommends a southern detour route, due to construction on commonly used northern alternate routes. Drivers should anticipate additional traffic on these routes. CDOT has paused some construction projects in order to accommodate detour traffic. CDOT discourages travelers from using highways north of I-70 as a through route, due to construction zones (even if projects are paused during the closure).
WESTBOUND I-70: Denver metro area motorists can travel on US 285 to US 50, and continue west to Grand Junction. Travelers on I-70 can use CO 9 to US 285 south to US 50, or usus CO 91 southwest to US 24 to US 50.
EASTBOUND I-70 : Motorists traveling from Grand Junction can use US 50 east to US 285 and continue to Denver. Eastbound travelers on US 50/285 may also use US 24, CO 91or CO 9 for destinations at or near Vail, Copper Mountain or Silverthorne.
Independence Pass: CO 82 between Aspen and US 24 is open with limited access and alternating traffic, controlled by flagging personnel. Motorists are advised that only passenger vehicles, such as cars, SUVs and vans are allowed. No commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), camper trailers, recreational or similar vehicles are allowed. A 35-foot length restriction is in place. Motorists should expect slow speeds, lengthy travel times and potential delays of up to two hours if traveling over Independence Pass. Campers and recreational vehicles are strongly advised to seek alternate southern routes.
CDOT asks that motorists not use Cottonwood Pass, Hagerman Pass, or other county or forest service roads in Eagle and Garfield counties as a detour. These roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles.
OTHER TRAVEL IMPACTS
Colorado Highway 14 remains closed from west of Cameron Pass and Walden (Mile Point 61) for eastbound traffic and at Rustic and County Road 69 (MP 97) for westbound traffic due to the Cameron Peak Wildfire. CDOT recommends detouring north on US Highway 287 or Interstate 25 to Laramie, Wyoming, and then traveling on Wyoming Highway 230 to Walden, Colo.
The Williams Fork Fire in Grand County is burning near US Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 9, north of I-70, but is not impacting state highways at this time.
CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s multimodal mobility options.