By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – As the massive Interstate 70 restructuring in Denver hits a major milestone with the “Mile High Shift” and a full closure this weekend, for crews building the Central 70 Project they know there’s a whole second half to finish.

(credit: CBS)

“The viaduct is old, the viaduct is ugly, and it is going to be a huge change when we’re able to get it removed and traffic into the lowered section,” said Bob Hays the CDOT Central 70 Project Director. “It’s going to completely change the way this neighborhood looks, feels.”

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Hays has been involved in the project since long before a shovel was even put in the ground. He was part of the team working on requests for proposal in 2015. Now he has a busy weekend ahead to make sure the shift from lanes above ground to below ground moves smoothly come Monday morning.

(credit: CBS)

“This is my baby, so I’ll be out here all weekend making sure everything is going as planned,” Hays said. “We do have some monitoring to do on Monday to see how traffic is flowing through the new lowered section.”

In an interview Friday afternoon, Hays repeatedly credited teamwork with reaching the halfway point of major construction around the viaduct.

“Every time you walk someone around the corner, and you actually show them the lowered section and what the cover, the tunnel looks like, everybody is in awe and so am I. It is just incredible. A huge engineering feat to build this structure adjacent to the existing viaduct, keeping all lanes of I-70 open as we do it, it’s awesome,” Hays said.

(credit: CBS)

He’s hopeful people will be proud when the new interstate is complete.

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“We know there are some folks that don’t love this project and some of those folks came out and visited the project last weekend. And I think, you know, maybe had a little change of heart. Maybe they still don’t love it but maybe they do see some benefits of getting rid of the viaduct and lowering the highway,” Hays said.

Watch CDOT crews demolish part of the I-70 viaduct:

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The viaduct is expected to be demolished by the fall. Full completion of the project is on pace for the end of 2022.

Jeff Todd