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Changes coming to runaway truck ramp on I-70 years after fatal crash

I-70's lone runaway truck ramp toward Denver closes until next summer for updates
I-70's lone runaway truck ramp toward Denver closes until next summer for updates 02:53

The runaway truck ramps on the side of the interstate are likely an afterthought for most drivers, but for those behind the wheel of semitruck, like Justin Boring, they are a lifeline.

"They're very important if you lose your brakes it's deadly if you don't hit those ramps," he said.

If you're coming into Denver on I-70, the only ramp along the way is now under construction.

"During that time there will not be an emergency escape ramp on eastbound I-70 between the tunnel and the Denver metro region," said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Tamara Rollison.

Rollison says the changes are about making the entire stretch of roadway safer, a discussion that started after a fatal crash in 2019.


A truck driver didn't use the ramp after having lost the vehicle's brakes and slammed into stopped traffic, killing four people.

Initially, CDOT had planned to add a ramp in the center median at the bottom of the hill.

"The freight industry felt that truckers would not use the ramp in the center they are more used to using ramps on the right side and as of now there isn't a place to put a ramp safely, the decision was made to improve the existing one," Rollison said.

Over the last five years that eastbound ramp at the Genesee exit has only been used three times. In comparison, a westbound ramp coming out of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel has been used 75 times in the last five years.

CDOT hopes the improvements will make truckers feel more comfortable using the ramp in an emergency.


"There will be better signage on the ramp itself we are building up the barrier between the ramp and the embankment so that gives truckers a little more security when they go into it," Rollison said.

After nearly a decade of driving trucks, Boring hasn't had to use one and aims to keep it that way.

"I go very slow so I'm never going to have to use that ramp," he chuckled.

CDOT estimates changes to the ramp will cost roughly $15 million and reconstruction is expected to last until the end of May 2024.

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