DENVER -- After nearly 15 years of planning and controversy, the I-70 expansion project is officially underway.
“This road is very much the lifeblood of this community,” Governor John Hickenlooper said Friday morning at a groundbreaking ceremony.
The Problem Solvers want you to stay informed about this project and this guide will be updated with the latest information.
How long will construction it last?
The billion dollar plus project will take over four years and involve a complete makeover of 10 miles of I-70 mostly east of the city.
56 homes and 17 businesses have moved because of the construction project at a cost of $96 million so far.
When will roads be closed?
No daytime road or lane closures are expected however night time lane closures are anticipated. Weekend-long road closures will be announced online and on social media well in advance.
Where will construction start first?
Lanes will begin to close soon along I-70 east of I-270 and east of Quebec Street. That is so the widening process can begin along with a demolition of a bridge considered to be a risk by the state.
46th Avenue between York and Brighton will also close in the coming days.
How long until traffic goes underground?
Currently I-70 is elevated on viaducts mostly in the Elyria Swansea area. Four miles of that will eventually go underground where a park and recreation area will be on top of I70.
Before traffic and tunnels are created much construction needs to take place. It is not anticipated until 2020.
Can this project still be stopped?
Theoretically, yes. However it is very unlikely.
Supporters of “Ditch the Ditch” have filed another lawsuit arguing the health effects of construction are too costly for residents who live nearby the construction.
This area has been designated environmentally sensitive in the past and fumes from traffic have been reported to have caused health effects from those who live near I-70. Governor Hickenlooper believes this project will actually improve health and safety.
“I think they are going to have a lot less pollution - think about it - two times a day traffic stops on I70 - if cars are moving pollution can be cut in half,” Hickenlooper said.
How noisy will it get?
That is still to-be-determined. Residents are upset contractors want the city to allow them to make more noise - particularly at night.
Currently construction crews are only allowed 50 decibels - they want it to be 75.
Residents who live in neighborhoods worry they won’t be able to sleep while contractors say every precaution will be made.
“We have a whole laundry list of things to reduce that noise - in some places we may use temporary sound barriers,” Hunter Sydnor, a spokesperson for the contractor, said.
A hearing on noise levels will take place within city government in the coming weeks.AlertMe