Interstate 70 closed this weekend for “historic shift” in Denver traffic

Interstate 70 in the heart of Denver will be closed this weekend as the Colorado Department of Transportation works to shift traffic to the new lowered section of the project. 

The change, known as the “Mile High Shift,” will close both directions of I 70 between Washington Street and I-270 starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, May 21st, and lasting through Monday, May 24th at 5 a.m.

According to 9 News, during the closure, CDOT will move all six lanes of east and westbound traffic from the current raised viaduct, to the new lowered section of the interstate – a difference of nearly 60 feet. 

“The Mile High Shift will allow crews to then safely demolish the structurally deficient 57-year-old viaduct and build the future eastbound lanes of I-70,” according to a statement from CDOT.

Mile High Shift traffic impact:

  • Friday, May 21 at 10 p.m. to Monday, May 24 at 5 a.m.
  • Westbound I-70 traffic: Head west on I-270, to westbound I-76, continue south onto I-25 and exit onto westbound I-70.
  • Eastbound I-70 traffic: Head north on I-25, take eastbound I-76, continue east on I-270 and exit onto eastbound I-70.

During the construction in preparation for the shift, CDOT inadvertently dug up seven fossils, including a fossilized camel that dates back to the Ice Age. 

The “Mile High Shift” is a part of the $1.2 billion Central 70 Project, which started in 2018 and will eventually reconstruct a total of 10 miles of Interstate 70, add an express lane in each direction, and lower the interstate. 

Traffic is expected to reach its final configuration by late 2022, and landscaping and park elements along the interstate are expected to be completed sometime in 2023.