EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) and the Colorado Motor Carriers Association held a ceremony Monday afternoon to open a new emergency truck ramp near Vail.
The new and improved runaway truck ramp is located along westbound Interstate 70 at the bottom of Vail Pass.
The new ramp provides truck drivers with a straighter path off the highway to reduce the likelihood of trucks tipping over, according to CDOT. It also features a settlement basin beneath it so should there be any type of hazardous spill, it can be contained on site and cleaned up with no impact to Gore Creek.
CDOT said improving safety and minimizing accidents is important as I-70 is Colorado's most critical corridor for interstate commerce and tourism.
CDOT is looking to reduce the number of times Vail Pass is closed for incidents with this improved truck ramp and the other safety features planned as part of this project over the next few years.
"This project reduces closures of Vail Pass and therefore reduces traffic and trip times to the high country," said Polis. "This improvement represents the start of better things to come for the Coloradans and businesses that rely on Vail Pass. The safety improvements this project brings and the improved access for emergency service vehicles will reduce the number of closures on Vail Pass, saving Coloradans time and money and supporting our local economy."
CDOT said the truck ramp is the first of several safety improvements being made as part of the $164.2 million I-70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project.
Project construction is on winter hiatus and work on these other project elements is scheduled to resume in spring 2022, spanning 10 miles of Interstate 70 from East Vail to the top of Vail Pass.
Major construction on the I-70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project is expected to be completed in 2025, according to CDOT.
“The West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project will reconstruct aging bridges, straighten out tight curves, widen shoulders to accommodate emergency service access and add five miles of an eastbound auxiliary lane to improve travel to the top of Vail Pass,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.
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