CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The final touches are being put on a $100 million expansion on Interstate 70 that is designed to ease traffic congestion.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is hoping the expansion will mean an easier commute into the Denver metro area from the mountains.
"Many years in the making to get to this point," said CDOT Region One Transportation Director Tony DeVito.
The project will widen the tunnel's eastbound bore to accommodate an additional lane of I-70 just a couple of miles downhill from Idaho Springs.
After months of blasting out tons of rock, three lanes of eastbound traffic will be allowed through starting on Friday.
"This is an exciting day. It's hard to believe we started this detour on April 1," said DeVito.
The eastbound tunnel was singled out as the major pinch point for the drive back to Denver from the mountains. New LED lights will also help.
"This tunnel is much higher, much wider and you're not going to get that black hole effect that was slowing people with a psychological event for many years," said DeVito.
With that expansion complete, other projects for the mountain corridor are moving forward.
"The main thing CDOT is working on right now is the peak period shoulder lane project," said DeVito. "It will add an operational lane, a shoulder lane that will become operational during peak periods from Empire."
The shoulder lane is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015 and it will cost drivers to use it.
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