CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The Colorado Department of Transportation has the money needed to fix one of the worst traffic tie-ups along Interstate 70.

The state transportation committee on Thursday approved $60 million to widen the eastbound bore of the Twin Tunnels near Idaho Springs.

“Through the studies that we’ve done, it’s clear there’s a slowdown on eastbound I-70 any time vehicles reach those tunnels. It just happens,” said CDOT Commissioner Steve Parker.

CDOT will use that $60 million to shave way rock and double the width so three lanes of traffic can flow through.

“Now that’s a lot of money and it will help a lot but it won’t solve 100 percent of the problem. It will solve over half the problem, we believe,” said Parker.

The backup can stretch 10 miles or more at peak times.

“Finding the money has really, really been difficult,” said Idaho Springs Mayor Jack Morgan.

The tunnels are actually within the limits of Idaho Springs and the mayor said it’s essential to fix the bottle neck. It will be years before the traffic tie-ups ease.

“I think it’s more like 2014, so it’s a couple of years out,” said Parker.

Before any construction happens on improving the tunnel, CDOT must spend a couple of million dollars to improve the frontage road on the other side of Clear Creek. That’s where traffic will be diverted while construction is under way.


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