I-70 IN A MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT--VAIL PASS COLORADO

This book describes the many innovative ideas, designs, and construction techniques used in the planning and construction of Interstate Highway 70 over Vail Pass. In terms of alignment and design concepts, two major ecological factors were important. The fragile environment, with its high elevation and short growing season; and, the location of the highway, taking into consideration the deep snowpack and snow removed as well as rapid spring runoff. Only after the final alignment was decided could the design portion of the highway and landscape treatment take place. Landscape design became an integral part of the highway design not an after thought. Successful landscape treatments were found to be those that imitated existing landscape element; methods of erosion control, slope stabilization and revegetation eventually merged into a format which proved successful in the consideration of scenic quality. Erosion control planning was initiated for several reasons including exposed red colloidal clay which remained in suspension weeks after entering nearby streams; local communities received their drinking water from the streams affected, wildlife depended on the streams; and, it was found that heavy sedimentation during fish spawning time would affect riparian populations. With respect to structures, environmental concerns centered on minimal disturbances especially to the streams, wildlife habitat and migration ranks. Aesthetically, the structures had to be designed to be compatible with the natural terrain. A visitor center on the summit of Vail Pass was designed to provide motorists an opportunity for rest and information. Exhibits are featured and display maps show recreational trails, and facilities.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Colorado Department of Highways

    4201 East Arkansas Avenue
    Denver, CO  USA  80222
  • Publication Date: 1978

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Photos;
  • Pagination: 97 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00180442
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-TS-78-208
  • Files: TRIS, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 12 1978 12:00AM