The Colorado Department of Transportation is about to embark on a major project, hoping to ease traffic on one of the busiest stretches of I-70. But some worry that construction will only make things worse.
“We’re often a little nervous about what I-70 going west out of Denver will look like,” said Anthony Smith, a Broomfield resident.
Other drivers are also concerned about how it will affect their daily commute.
“We drive it every day and we deal with it every day,” said Mike McIntosh, Epic Mountain Express driver.
Mountain drivers know all too well the headache of I-70 traffic.
“Floyd Hills, a great example. You go from three lanes to two and you have a bottleneck,” McIntosh said.
Starting in March, CDOT plans to add an express toll lane to that westbound bottleneck as part of a $700 million makeover for the stretch of I-70 between Evergreen and Idaho Springs.
“It will be great to have it, but it would be even better if it was an unpaid road,” Smith said.
The project is expected to take three years and includes adding a frontage road between US Route 6 and Idaho Springs, replacing bridges, flattening curves, building shoulders, and creating life crossings wild.
“Anything to widen I-70 to make traffic jams and bottlenecks go down, I’m all for it,” said Isaac Callion, general manager of the Westbound and Down Brewing Company.
Some local businesses say the improvements will provide some much-needed relief on I-70.
“It’s just that a lot of people are heading this way and I-70 can’t really accommodate all the traffic. So, it’s kind of a nightmare, we benefit from that, but it can be a real pain,” Callion said.
But drivers aren’t looking forward to the build that will come with it.
“If they have to close lanes just to add another lane, it’s going to drastically add to the traffic problems that we’ve already had on I-70 for three or four years, it’s going to be miserable,” McIntosh said.
Most of these improvements won’t start until after the ski season this year. CDOT plans to hold a meeting in March to address concerns about the project.