Heavy traffic volumes expected on the I-70 corridor this weekend
Westbound traffic volumes along I-70 are already running high and predicted to remain that way through the New Year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Motorists can also expect slower travel times in the afternoon peak when ski traffic makes its way back to the Front Range.
“Historically we see heavier traffic volumes this weekend as people continue to travel to the mountains during the holiday break,” said Patrick Chavez, I-70 mountain corridor manager with CDOT.
CDOT maintenance crews are also currently making permanent repairs on a hole that formed in the bridge deck on westbound I-70 at mile marker 244, at the bottom of Floyd Hill. These repairs currently require a single lane closure, which is causing 45-minute to one-hour delays on westbound I-70, comparable to what is seen for ski traffic.
Motorists can take U.S. 6 or U.S. 40 as an alternate to avoid this area of I-70, but should be warned that delays are about 45 minutes in these areas. Repairs are expected to last between six to eight hours. It is highly unlikely repairs will last into the morning, according to CDOT.
Potholes and holes in bridge decks often form during periods of ice and snow. Concrete can become over-saturated with water, which means that 91 percent of concrete’s pores are filled with water and if the water freezes, it can occupy 9 percent of the concrete’s volume. If there is no space for the volume expansion, freezing can cause distress in the concrete. This distress, once the ice begins to thaw, is what results in potholes.
This is known as the “freeze/thaw effect” and is an issue throughout the country and when paired with plowing and high volumes of traffic can make the issue happen even more.
There have been reports of potholes in this area several times, and CDOT is obligated to fix it as soon as it is reported or crews spot it. Unfortunately, pothole patches do not mean that a pothole will not form in the same spot again. CDOT says they hope to completely rehab the bridge next summer.
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