DENVER — Drivers should prepare for delays on a stretch of Interstate 70 next week as crews begin preparing for rock blasting operations as part of the Floyd Hill Project.
Starting Monday, July 31, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and contractor Kraemer North America will begin rock scaling operations. Rock scaling and blasting will take place in the east section of the project along eastbound I-70 between the U.S. 6 interchange and Hyland Drive. It will allow crews to widen eastbound I-70 to build an extended on-ramp from the U.S. 6 interchange to the top of Floyd Hill, according to CDOT.
Drivers can expect traffic holds up to 20 minutes long on both directions of I-70, and delays up to 45 minutes as the traffic clears. Eastbound traffic will be stopped at the Hidden Valley/Central City interchange. Westbound traffic will be stopped near County Road 65.
Rock scaling is the process of removing loose and unstable material from the rock blasting area. It will occur up to four times a day, Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., during off-peak travel times. Operations are expected to last two weeks.
Once the rock scaling is finished, the rock blasting will begin. That's the process of drilling holes in a rock mass and fracturing the rock with an explosive. It will occur once per day and up to two times per week, Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. CDOT said there will be about 30 blasts in the east section of the project through early 2024.
A series of airhorn blasts will precede each detonation to warn people in the area, CDOT said. Text alerts will be sent out prior to rock blasting operations.
Information on the blasting schedule is available on the hotline at 720-994-2368.
There will not be a detour during rock scaling or blasting. CDOT said travelers should plan trips around the blasting schedule. Anyone who has to travel during blasting operations should expect traffic holds of 20 minutes and delays up to 45 minutes. Traffic will be stopped at the same locations as the ones for rock scaling operations.
CDOT said the project is intended to improve mobility and increase safety on an eight-mile stretch of I-70 from west of Evergreen to eastern Idaho Springs and will accomplish the following objectives:
Add a third westbound I-70 travel lane in this two-lane bottleneck. This new lane will be a full-time, tolled Express Lane from just west of Homestead Road through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to Colorado Blvd./Idaho Springs.
Rebuild bridges due to use, wear and tear, and heavy usage.
Construct a missing two-mile section of the frontage road between U.S. 6 and the Hidden Valley/Central City Parkway interchanges, which will improve emergency response.
Build an extended on-ramp from U.S. 6 onto eastbound I-70 for slow-moving vehicles to have more room to merge.
Improve traffic flow and access at interchanges and intersections.
Improve sight distance and safety by straightening roadway curves.
Improve the Clear Creek Greenway trail.
Implement environmental mitigation to enhance wildlife connectivity, air and water quality, stream conditions and recreation.
Install two permanent air quality monitors.
You can sign up for text alerts about the project by texting floydhill to 21000 and by signing up for project emails at codot.gov/projects/i70floydhill.
The project is expected to be finished in late 2028.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Latest from 9NEWS
MORE WAYS TO GET 9NEWS
Subscribe to our daily 9NEWSLETTER for top stories from 9NEWS curated daily just for you. Get content and information right now for can’t-miss stories, Next and Broncos content, weather and more delivered right to your inbox.
HOW TO ADD THE FREE 9NEWS+ APP TO YOUR STREAMING DEVICE
ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KUSA.
For both Apple TV and Fire TV, search for "9NEWS" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.