Residents toured a stretch of the Central 70 Project Saturday walking on the pavement that will soon be covered with cars traveling east and west on the interstate.
- A rare chance today for people in Denver to walk on a stretch of I-70 days before traffic is shifted to the lowered lanes of the Central I-70 Project. CDOT turned the section of soon-to-be interstate into a one-day only attraction of food, music, and the history behind the Central 70 Project. Our Shawn Chitnis is live in Denver tonight. And Shawn, today people who've lived next to this work for years got to see what all that construction has been about.
SHAWN CHITNIS: And Kathy it certainly was quite the opportunity to just get to walk on that interstate soon before thousands will ultimately travel by car on it. And yes those who were there all kind of said the same thing to us. They were grateful to see this opportunity and what is ahead, not only for the drivers who will be on I-70, but also for those who live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
This stretch of I-70 became a museum of history and innovation for a day. People stopped by exhibits and even had an audio tour to learn about the Central 70 Project.
- I think it's wonderful that they've done this for the community so that there's a buy in by everyone. This is progress, progress.
SHAWN CHITNIS: While the project has created challenges for neighbors in the past, people who live in this part of Denver and those visiting hope the showcase they saw today suggests a better experience for all is around the corner.
- It's been wonderful. I'm glad they are doing this, you know, because you look at the bridge, you know, and you can tell we need something done to it. You know pieces are falling off. You can see the cracks, you know, and all the noise, you know, it's horrible.
SHAWN CHITNIS: It was quite the contrast between old and new side-by-side. The aging viaduct of I-70 has shaped this stretch of the interstate for almost six decades.
- I heard about this for many, many years and need to do something. And now to actually see progress, things are going in the right direction. And that'll reunite these neighborhoods as well, so that's definitely a step forward.
SHAWN CHITNIS: This new tunnel takes drivers underground and eliminates a physical divide many have seen all their lives.
- It would be fabulous, you know, yeah. No more headaches and everything, you know, and people just got to get used to it.
SHAWN CHITNIS: So later this month CDOT will actually close a stretch of I-70. That way they can start what they're calling the Mile High Shift and move traffic to this new lower section that people got to tour today, and then they will start the demolition of that I-70 viaduct. Live tonight in Denver, Shawn Chitnis covering Colorado first.