I-70 enlargement at 2 years: Mounting delays on Denver venture push again large milestones

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Two years after state and native officers broke floor on the enlargement of Interstate 70 by northeast Denver, important progress is obvious — and much more work stays to be performed.
The $1.2 billion Central 70 venture ought to have made it previous the 50-yard line by now however has confronted mounting delays. Kiewit-Meridiam Companions, the contracting crew, projected 10 months of delays to the official schedule in its most up-to-date month-to-month progress report, with main work set to complete up in July 2023. That’s a full 16 months previous the deadline within the schedule earlier than it was revised final 12 months.
Each Kiewit Infrastructure Co. and the Colorado Division of Transportation affiliate overseeing the venture say they’re optimistic they’ll discover methods to rein in some delays, ideally reeling completion again to late 2022, by rethinking venture sequencing and making different modifications.
Right here is the place the venture stands two years in — and what drivers ought to anticipate to see in coming months and years.
What’s been performed
The groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 3, 2018, kicked off CDOT’s largest city freeway venture in additional than a decade. Kiewit is increasing a 10-mile hall between Interstate 25 in Denver and Chambers Street in Aurora so as to add a tolled categorical lane in every course — with a second one attainable in a future venture. Its companions will function and preserve the stretch for 3 a long time below a public-private partnership deal that may price CDOT an estimated $2.2 billion.
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostCrews clear cement pylons as they work on building of the Interstate 70 venture in Denver on Aug. 5, 2020.
Moreover widening, notable work to this point contains:

Contractors have excavated practically 1.Three million cubic yards of filth, most of it within the west section, essentially the most intensive of three sections. That’s the place crews are digging between Brighton and Colorado boulevards to make room for a sunken part of freeway that may exchange a crumbling viaduct that runs for practically 2 miles. Additionally making progress is the westbound facet of a tunnel that may carry site visitors beneath a parkland cowl subsequent to Swansea Elementary College, together with building of Union Pacific Railroad’s main railroad crossing, which has pushed among the venture delays.
Within the central section, crews have constructed one new span of the Colorado Boulevard bridge over the freeway and began on the opposite.
The east section is sort of completed, with restriping of newly laid pavement deliberate quickly. Crews additionally constructed a brand new flyover ramp from Interstate 270 to eastbound I-70.

All through the venture hall, crews have positioned 275,000 tons of asphalt, in keeping with the CDOT venture workplace. They’ve rebuilt or moved frontage roads, reconstructed 13 freeway ramps, and rebuilt two bridges whereas getting began on 16 extra.
Kiewit will return to the Denver Board of Public Well being and Atmosphere on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. distant listening to to resume its variance on nighttime noise limits, doubtlessly by December 2022. It has confronted a number of restrictions to cut back the impression of the venture on the freeway’s neighbors in Elyria-Swansea.
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostCrews work on building of the Interstate 70 venture in Denver on Aug. 5, 2020.
What to look at for
A number of large milestones are forward — although a lot later than anticipated — in keeping with Kiewit-Meridiam Companions’ month-to-month report:

Late spring: Opening of the brand new Union Pacific crossing is anticipated in June, or probably sooner. It was purported to be performed this fall below the official schedule and is a linchpin for different key milestones.
August 2021: Completion of repaving within the central section, between Colorado and Quebec Avenue, will occur about two months after site visitors is positioned in its last configuration.
September 2021: The primary main site visitors change within the west section will transfer each instructions of journey into the brand new westbound sunken part between Brighton and Colorado, with sufficient room for 3 lanes in every course. This transfer, which had been anticipated about now within the unique schedule, will enable for demolition of the viaduct and excavation of the eastbound facet of the ditch.
September 2022: The second main site visitors change will transfer eastbound site visitors into its everlasting place.

Extra work will occur by July 2023, when KMP expects to succeed in the “substantial completion milestone,” together with last paving, completion of the parkland cowl and preparations to open the brand new categorical lanes.
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostConstruction continues on the westbound Interstate 70 tunnel from Clayton to Columbine Streets in Denver on Aug. 5, 2020.
Disputes over timing and funds
For now, the venture’s funds has modified little. CDOT’s Excessive Efficiency Transportation Enterprise, which oversees the contract, has held off on extending the official schedule to include additional delays. However the two sides just lately requested a dispute decision panel to type out Kiewit’s claims for extra money and time — exceeding $10 million — to compensate for difficulties it skilled figuring out the railroad crossing with Union Pacific.
To this point, Kiewit has earned simply considered one of seven contractual milestone funds, but it surely’s prone to earn a couple of extra subsequent 12 months.
Keith Stefanik, the Central 70 venture director, says no alarm bells have gone off, and the 2 sides are working effectively collectively. Kiewit spokesperson Matt Sanman says the corporate shares CDOT’s total optimism and has labored to establish delays early in order that there’s time to make changes that may cut back them.
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Nonetheless, the venture workplace expressed some concern to Kiewit in a current scheduling doc: “If previous efficiency is a predictor of future occasions, it’s cheap to conclude that the Challenge will proceed to have building productiveness points, nonconforming work, and modifications in design throughout building that may cumulatively lead to extra future delays.”
Stefanik says he’s hopeful that received’t occur.
“Proper now, on paper, our schedule is pushing out into 2023, however our aim coming into this was to succeed in substantial completion on the finish of 2022,” he mentioned, including: “We’re actually assured that we are able to, over the subsequent two and a half years or so, discover progressive methods to mitigate this schedule.”

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