The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) plans to close I-70, both east- and westbound, on Friday, Jan. 4 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The closure is part of construction to renovate the highway, and will span from Brighton to Colorado Boulevards. Traffic will be rerouted up through Commerce City over Interstates 270, 76 and 25.
A press release by the agency said the reason for the closure is to conduct a “load test,” which “will help confirm construction sequencing near and adjacent to the viaduct.”
Once viaduct construction is underway, main work will take place on one side of the highway at a time to keep traffic moving, though a spokesperson for the agency said full closures will occur again as the project continues.
The project, known as Central 70, began last year but really will pick up steam in 2019. This year, the CDOT expects construction to begin on the highway’s Westbound side between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards, as well as Stapleton Drive North and South, which runs parallel to I-70 between Colorado and Monaco. The viaduct is not set to be demolished until 2020.
The detour, incidentally, follows the path of a reroute alternative that local activists were hoping might become a permanent pathway for the highway. That effort eventually galvanized as a small but loud anti-I-70 movement that resulted in three lawsuits that aimed to stop the project. While two of those lawsuits failed, the last ended in a settlement with the state agency which was announced last month.
This story has been updated with new information from CDOT, and a clarification that the first two lawsuits were not “thrown out” of court, as originally stated, but failed.