Interstate 70, Colorado

Trip Day Six: May 9, 2006

We're Heading West

Travel to Grand Junction

We're looking down on a showey forest.
We are getting into ski country.
The Famous Eisenhower Tunnel

Located approximately sixty miles west of Denver, it is the highest vehicular tunnel in the world at an elevation of 11,013 feet at the East Portal and 11,158 feet at the West Portal. The tunnel traverses the Continental Divide.

The Tunnel was originally designed as a twin bore tunnel. Construction on the westbound bore (North Tunnel) began March 15, 1968 and was completed five years later on March 8, 1973. This bore was originally called the Straight Creek Tunnel, and later was officially named the Eisenhower Memorial Bore. Construction on the second bore began August 18, 1975 and was completed four years later on December 21, 1979. This eastbound bore was named after Edwin C. Johnson, a past Governor and U.S. Senator who had actively supported an interstate highway system across Colorado.

Maximum excavated height for the tunnels is 48 feet with a width of 40 feet. However, when driving through the tunnels, the actual height is not apparent. The exhaust and supply air ducts are located above a suspended porcelain enamel panel ceiling and a drainage system is provided underneath the roadway surface. Today, the driver sees only the distance (vertical clearance) from the roadway surface to the ceilings in the tunnels, a distance of 16 feet, 4 inches. However, because of a series of variable message boards mounted from the ceiling, actual clearance is set at 13 feet, 6 inches.

The tunnel is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in order to provide a safe and adequate level of service to the motoring public. The current staffing level is set at 52 full-time employees.

End of the tunnel.
There was some black ice on the shady section of roadway.

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