Here’s how I-70 Floyd Hill project will affect ski traffic this winter

Workers have begun blasting away at a hillside along a three-mile stretch of eastbound Interstate 70 — part of the five-year, $700 million Floyd Hill Project, which planners hope will improve traffic flow in an area notorious for nightmare bottlenecks.

It’s a daunting thought for every motorist who has braved the highway during ski season when snow, semis, construction and crashes can result in hours-long delays.

But Colorado Department of Transportation officials believe the impacts on weekend ski traffic this winter at least should be negligible. That’s because blasting must occur during daylight hours on weekdays, and not on the weekends or during peak traffic hours on weekdays.

CDOT says motorists can expect delays of up to 45 minutes during blasting sessions between U.S. 6 and the Floyd Hill/Hyland Hills exit. Closures will be imposed between mile marker 243, at the Hidden Valley/Central City interchange, and mile marker 248, near the top of Floyd Hill.

“But that’s only going to be on weekdays,” said CDOT spokeswoman Presley Fowler. “There won’t be weekend lane closures, unless there is some kind of emergency situation.”

The three lanes of eastbound I-70 have been narrowed through the blasting section, however, which could result in slower speeds. “We hope people slow down,” Fowler said.

On U.S. 40, which functions as a frontage road for the interstate in that area, roundabouts are being built at exit 247 eastbound and exit 248 westbound. There is another construction project between the Lookout Mountain and Genesee exits that involves lane shifting with narrowed lanes, but that work also is proceeding without lane closures. That project involves putting in a wildlife underpass.

Ultimately, the Floyd Hill Project will add a third lane westbound on Floyd Hill, extending to Idaho Springs, and an extended on-ramp from U.S. 6 to eastbound I-70. Several other improvements are planned, including straightening roadway curves.

Construction on the east section of the project, currently underway, is scheduled to continue until the summer of 2026. Construction on the west section, from Hidden Valley to Idaho Springs, is scheduled to begin early in 2024 and last until fall of 2027. Construction on the central section from the middle of Floyd Hill to Hidden Valley is to begin next spring and run until the end of 2028.

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