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Expect lane closures on EB I-70 next week for project to upgrade emergency ramp


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) crews will close some eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 east of Genesee next week as the department continues its construction on the Mount Vernon emergency escape ramp.

The lane closures — which will include one lane or two, but not three — will run Sunday evening through Friday morning, CDOT said.

This closure is part of the Eastbound I-70 Mount Vernon Emergency Escape Ramp Project, which started on Nov. 13, 2023. Once completed, crews will have rebuilt the eastbound I-70 Mount Vernon emergency escape ramp at mile post 257 just east of Genesee, CDOT said. The ramp will have higher visibility for truck drivers facing an emergency, like failed brakes, as they head downhill toward Denver. The improvements include better signage, additional cameras and lights on the ramp, and a better ramp design to allow for late entry.

The emergency ramp will remain closed until the project is completed, which is estimated to be late May or early June, CDOT said. This means there is no escape ramp for truckers traveling eastbound on I-70 from the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel to the Denver metro region.

CDOT said it chose to complete this project in the winter, when truckers are not using I-70 as much compared to warmer months.

The construction cost is estimated at $15 million.

This is the CDOT schedule for the single-lane closures on eastbound I-70 east of Genesee:

  • Sunday 7 p.m. to Monday 1 p.m.
  • Monday 6 p.m. to Tuesday 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday 6 p.m. to Wednesday 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday 6 p.m. to Thursday 1 p.m.
  • Thursday 6 p.m. to Friday 10 a.m.

In addition, a double-lane closure in the eastbound lanes is also expected overnight during these times:

  • Sunday 9 p.m. to Monday 6 a.m.
  • Monday 8 p.m. to Tuesday 6 a.m.
  • Tuesday 8 p.m. to Wednesday 6 a.m.
  • Wednesday 8 p.m. to Thursday 6 a.m.
  • Thursday 8 p.m. to Friday 9 a.m.

This schedule may change based on weather. No lane closures are planned during weekends and holidays.
The speed limit for freight vehicles will drop to 40 mph from exit 254 to 259 in the eastbound lanes. The emergency escape ramp is also closed to all vehicles until the late spring. There are several points along the way where they can cool the brakes.

According to CDOT, those locations include:

  • Eastbound US 6, Mile Point 229 – Loveland Chain Station and Brake Check
  • Eastbound I-70, Mile Point 219 – Herman Gulch Chain Station and Brake Check
  • Eastbound I-70, Mile Point 228 – Georgetown Chain Station and Brake Check
  • Eastbound/Westbound I-70 Dumont Weigh Station, Exit 234 (Downieville-Lawson Exit)
  • Eastbound I-70, Mile Point 241 – Idaho Springs Chain Station and Brake Check
  • Eastbound I-70, Mile Point 250 – El Rancho Chain Station and Brake Check
  • Truck parking off eastbound I-70 at the Walmart Supercenter in Evergreen – Exit 251
  • Eastbound I-70, Exit 254 (Genesee Park Exit) – Genesee Brake Check Area
Colorado Department of Transportation_hot brakes I-70 during ramp construction

Colorado Department of Transportation

Map of hot brake locations on eastbound I-70 between the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel and east of Genesee.

In a CDOT report, the department said the Mount Vernon ramp was used twice between Aug. 26, 2016 and April 2, 2019.

CDOT is reminding truck drives to ensure their brakes and vehicles are in safe working order before they head down the steep grade.

To learn more about this project, call 303-502-1625 or email I70escaperampproject@gmail.com.

CDOT said the most heavily used runaway truck ramp in Colorado, but also the United States, is the Lower Straight Creek ramp along westbound I-70 at mile post 211.83


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