DENVER (KDVR) — An Interstate 70 runaway truck ramp will close for months, leaving truckers with no emergency escape on a stretch of the mountain corridor headed toward Denver.

The eastbound emergency escape ramp at the Mount Vernon exit will be rebuilt, and work was scheduled to start Monday, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. It’s at milepost 257 in Jefferson County, just east of Genesee.

The project will “make the ramp more visible and robust for truck drivers to use in the event of an emergency, such as failed brakes or a mechanical failure,” CDOT said in a release.

Closure is set for the end of November until late May or early June 2024. During that time, there will be no eastbound escape ramp from the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel to Golden.

“Truckers must make sure their brakes and vehicles are in safe working order before heading down the steep grade,” CDOT said.

CDOT said the project was planned for winter, when it’s the lowest risk for hot brakes and trucker speeds are reduced.

A stretch of I-70 in the Colorado mountains with signs warning truckers of "steep grades and sharp curves" and another sign pointing to "runaway truck ramp"
The eastbound Interstate 70 Mount Vernon emergency escape ramp will be reconstructed. (Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)

I-70 construction: Runaway ramp near Genesee

According to CDOT, improvements for the Mount Vernon runaway ramp include:

  • better advanced signage,
  • larger barriers between the ramp and the adjacent steep embankment,
  • additional cameras at the ramp,
  • new ramp lighting,
  • and a better ramp design allowing for late entry should truckers miss the escape ramp entrance.

There are alternative locations for truckers to stop to cool their brakes. Drivers can see them on a map at CDOT will also notify drivers about the closure with signs and speed reductions along the interstate.

CDOT said traffic impacts should be minor. Along with intermittent single-lane closures Monday-Thursday, the shoulder along the construction area will be closed for the duration of the project.