Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Favorite Freeway: I-70 In Colorado

Interstate 70 (I-70) is a transcontinental Interstate Highway in the United States, stretching from Cove Fort, Utah to Baltimore, Maryland. In Colorado, the highway traverses an east–west route across the center of the state. In western Colorado, the highway connects the metropolitan areas of Grand Junction and Denver via a route through the Rocky Mountains. In eastern Colorado, the highway crosses the Great Plains, connecting Denver with metropolitan areas in Kansas and Missouri. Bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles, normally prohibited on Interstate Highways, are allowed on those stretches of I-70 in the Rockies where no other through route exists.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) lists the construction of I-70 among the engineering marvels undertaken in the Interstate Highway system, and cites four major accomplishments: the section through the Dakota Hogback, Eisenhower Tunnel, Vail Pass and Glenwood Canyon. The Eisenhower Tunnel, with a maximum elevation of 11,158 feet (3,401 m) and length of 1.7 miles (2.7 km), is the longest mountain tunnel and highest point along the Interstate Highway System. The portion through Glenwood Canyon was completed on October 14, 1992. This was one of the final pieces of the Interstate Highway System to open to traffic, and is one of the most expensive rural highways per mile built in the United States. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) earned the 1993 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for the completion of I-70 through the canyon.

When the Interstate Highway system was in the planning stages, the western terminus of I-70 was proposed to be at Denver. The portion west of Denver was included into the plans after lobbying by Governor Edwin C. Johnson, for whom one of the tunnels along I-70 is named. East of Idaho Springs, I-70 was built along the corridor of U.S. Highway 40, one of the original transcontinental U.S. Highways. West of Idaho Springs, I-70 was built along the route of U.S. Highway 6, which was extended into Colorado during the 1930s.


Hwy. 6 runs through my hometown of Kendallville, Indiana!

Looking west toward the Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels. The elevation here is over 11,000 feet and the Continental Divide is crossed inside the 1.7 mile tunnel.

Elevated part of the freeway.

These tunnels were dug above the river and a bridge was built to connect the freeway to the tunnels.

A rest stop along the freeway. I took a picture of this very rest stop a few years ago. T'waren't any snew that day.

Looking down on I-70 from Loveland Pass on Highway 6.

One of the first elevated sections of I-70 a few miles west of Denver.

The novel approach to construct a freeway where Highway 6 used to be.

Truckers are warned to be careful on the downhill approach eastbound into Denver. Denver is where the Great Plains meets The Rocky Mountains.

I-70 in Glenwood Canyon as seen from The California Zephyr.

Above pictures courtesy of Wikipedia.

No comments: