Families near I-70 construction project offered hotels, meals, during weekend demolition

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DENVER (KDVR) — Interstate 70 construction continues this weekend with a full closure in Denver for a major demolition project that will push noise and dust into the communities who still live near the roadway.

The construction will demolish the elevated roadway and open new asphalt 30 feet below ground as part of an ongoing I-70 expansion project that’s lasted for three years.

Some residents in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods tried to fight the I-70 expansion, as the already massive interstate cuts straight through their communities. Now, they’ve been offered hotels and meals to leave the area for the weekend while the loud and dirty demolition is underway.

“People here have given up, because they know they can’t stop this big monster,” said Sandra Ruiz Parrilla, who lives on the north side of I-70.

Due to noise ordinances during the demolition of the large, elevated portion of I-70, the Kiewit construction company reserved and offered 140 hotel rooms to people who live nearby. The company also offered three meals a day to each person staying at the hotel.

Still, some people say they have no choice but to stick around.

“We won’t leave the home alone. We will take turns having someone at the home, because we are afraid of people breaking in and robbing houses while they are gone cause everyone is at the Double Tree,” said Lana Rodlin, whose family accepted the hotel voucher.

Parrilla said offering hotels for this period of construction doesn’t make up for what neighbors have had to deal with for the last three years.

“We exist here. It’s not abandoned. It’s not just the highway. There are a lot of houses here being affected,” Parrilla said.

Residents complain of their homes rattling, dust, noise pollution and air pollution.

Rodlin said that throughout the construction period, organizations have come in and replaced her windows, and she said many neighbors in the area received new refrigerators.

“I got a lot of home improvement done without having to spend a fortune,” Rodlin said.

Rodlin said her family has enjoyed watching the construction progress over the last few years, and they’re all looking forward to the final product. She said they are expecting to see an improvement in her home’s value.

“It’s exciting to see the improvements happening in the neighborhood,” Rodlin said.

The portion of I-70 closed Friday at 10 p.m. and isn’t expected to re-open until 5 a.m. Monday.

The best thing to do before hitting the road this weekend is double check your routes, especially if I-70 is on the way or if you are traveling to the airport. Check alternate routes here.

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