IDAHO SPRINGS - This time next week, the Colorado Department of Transportation's $100 million Twin Tunnels project is expected to be underway.
The hope is that it will eventually fix a notorious bottleneck by widening Eastbound Interstate 70 at the Twin Tunnels to three lanes.
The snow is melting in downtown Idaho Springs, and for Linda Enoch and her gift shop, that means it's almost time for the busy summer season.
"That's the time we get the crowds," Enoch said.
It will also be the time when the Twin Tunnels project will affect how people get in and out of the mountains for months to come.
The project will take eight months to transform two lanes of eastbound I-70 into three lanes.
Tony De Vito with CDOT says the project will help ease congestion.
"We have to get around one of those chokepoints up there, and that point is a two-lane, no shoulder historic tunnel," Vito said.
To get it done, eastbound I-70 will be closed for the next eight months. Traffic will be routed onto a one-mile detour right at the tunnel along Clear Creek and back onto the interstate.
"We will have a widened county road with two lanes in one direction and speeds will be about 35 to 40 miles an hour," Vito said.
To widen the tunnel crews will be working 24 hours a day, six days a week. Blasting will shut down both directions of I-70 at times. Travelers can avoid delays by calling 511, checking out CDOTS mobile App, or signing up for email alerts.
"We have a new I-70 app that's available on iPhones and smart phones. We will have extra cameras in the area," Vito said.
"We don't want anyone to stop coming to the mountains," Enoch said.
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