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CDOT seeks public input on additional lanes of I-70 on west side of Vail Pass

September 23, 2020, 9:47 am

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on Tuesday issued the following press release seeking public input through Oct. 21 on a package of proposed improvements on Interstate 70 west of Vail Pass:

The Colorado Department of Transportation has released recommendations to improve safety and operations on West Vail Pass on Interstate 70. Virtual public engagement will continue through Oct. 21. CDOT welcomes input on all projects and feedback is encouraged during the virtual public engagement period.

The Proposed Action is a package of improvements including an eastbound and westbound auxiliary lane on I-70 on the west side of Vail Pass from the East Vail exit (Mile Point 180) to the Vail Pass Rest Area (Mile Point 190). Other improvements include a widened inside shoulder, reconstruction of tight curves, wildlife underpasses and fencing, water quality improvements, truck ramp and parking enhancements, median glare screens and relocation of two miles of the recreation path that is currently next to I-70. The latest technology will be used to add variable speed limit and message signs and a way to close the pass immediately through a remote system when necessary.

A detailed description and evaluation of the Proposed Action has been documented in the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Section 4(f) Evaluation, which considers benefits, impacts, and proposed mitigation for numerous environmental and community resources. The EA and Section 4(f) Evaluation can be found on the project web page: www.bit.ly/WestVailPass.

Due to current limitations on public events during the novel coronavirus pandemic, CDOT will provide a virtual opportunity for public engagement. A video summarizing the study, findings, and next steps is available on the project web page and printed copies are available at the locations listed below. Community members are invited to view these materials at their convenience before submitting a comment. Public comments can be submitted any time during the 30-day public review period. Sept. 22-Oct. 21.

Printed copies are available at the following locations:

Vail Public Library
292 W. Meadow Drive
Vail, CO 81657

Town of Vail Administration Office
75 S. Frontage Road
Vail, CO 8165

The report is available for review and comment through Oct. 21. Public input will be considered by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration prior to issuing a decision document to determine if the project can move forward as planned.

 CDOT has obtained $140.4 million for construction of the first phase of improvements, which could begin in 2021. Funding includes a $60.7 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant awarded this summer by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If the project moves forward, CDOT will continue to pursue additional funding to complete the rest of the project.

To learn more about the project, join the mailing list, or submit comments, visit www.bit.ly/WestVailPass. Comments can also be provided via email cdot_wvailpassauxlanes@state.co.us or the project hotline phone number: 970-331-0200, or by mail to CDOT, attn: John Kronholm, PO Box 298, Eagle, CO 81631-0298.

2 Responses to CDOT seeks public input on additional lanes of I-70 on west side of Vail Pass

  1. Saundra Spaeh Reply

    September 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm


    The accidents and road closures at the west side of Vail Pass over the years have increased dramatically since the construction of the new highway through Glenwood Canyon. I have no statistics, however I commuted for several years in the 1980’s from Vail to Breckenridge everyday and only once, because of an avalanche, were we delayed.

    Large trucks and tractor trailers avoided this stretch of I-70 because it was dangerous and Glenwood Canyon was a deterrent as well. Why can these vehicles not be restricted on this dangerous, extreme length of highway? Why not build more snow fences on I-80 to improve winter access? It would save one billion dollars of taxpayers money, (Construction projects rarely come in under budget.); it would save the unbelievable inconvenience and danger of years of road and bridge construction: and it would save lives. It has been proven to work in the past.

    We do not need more lanes; it is a temporary solution, leading to the need for more lanes. Most Americans only drive in the passing lane as it is; the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel approach is a perfect example. We need to spend these funds on a more well thought out, permanent solution.

    Please consider these comments in earnest.

  2. Herbert Schoen Reply

    October 5, 2020 at 9:06 am

    As an East Vail homeowner, I am concerned by traffic noise on I70.
    If additional roadway is constructed can sound barriers be installed in sections where there are nearby private residences?

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