Douglas County, Colo. — With safety and efficiency as its primary goals, Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT’s) C-470 Express Lanes project team is installing an innovative process to transport concrete to the center lanes of the highway that, once complete, will help build the new Express Lanes.
Concrete will be transported by an 85-foot-long and 16-foot-wide conveyor belt with a clearance of 18 feet. There will be a 4-foot guardrail on either side of the conveyor belt for the safety of workers and the traveling public. The conveyor system will eliminate 20 minutes of drive time from the batch site to the work zone, reduce the number of necessary road closures for paving, and enhance safety for the traveling public and crew members.
“Using this system will eliminate more than 6,000 truckloads of concrete from entering and exiting the median, and will also help cut down on emissions and fuel consumption” said Mike Keleman, C-470 Express Lanes project director. “Safety is CDOT’s number one priority, which is one of the many reasons we decided to move forward with a conveyor system. Cutting down on the amount of trucks entering and exiting the highway will help alleviate slowdowns on C-470, and will actually help accelerate this portion of the project.”
Parts of the structure will be assembled off-site and placed into position during nighttime freeway closures. The concrete will be mixed at the current concrete batch plant off Lucent Boulevard. Then it will be loaded onto the conveyor and conveyed across C-470 and loaded onto trucks in the median that will then move the concrete to its destination along the corridor.
Typical hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and in some cases, operations will occur at night. This process will save project time and costs.
The $276 million C-470 Express Lanes project will increase mobility and user choice along 12.5 miles of the highway, between I-25 and Wadsworth Boulevard. On westbound C-470, crews will build two additional Express Lanes from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, and one additional Express Lane from Colorado Boulevard to Wadsworth. On eastbound C-470, they will build one additional Express Lane between I-25 and Wadsworth Boulevard.
The project also includes full reconstruction of existing pavement, the addition of auxiliary lanes at selected locations, on- and off-ramp improvements, realignment of substandard curves, widening of existing bridges, replacing the bridges over the South Platte River, the installation of tolling equipment, and new C-470 trail underpasses at Colorado and Quebec.
When complete, motorists may use the Express Lanes on C-470 for a faster, more reliable commute in exchange for paying a toll, or drive the general-purpose lanes for free.