From Vision to Reality
Glenwood Canyon has been a critical link in the nation's ground transportation network ever since the completion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1887. Later, Taylor State Road, a continuous wagon road between Denver and Grand Junction, opened to automobile traffic in 1902. Improvements to the highway occurred when it was renamed U.S. Highway 6 and 24 in 1936. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960 signed the National Highway Bill authorizing the construction of Interstate 70, Glenwood Canyon was proposed as part of the transcontinental route. Not until 1975, however, did the canyon officially become a link in the I-70 corridor. Then came the long planning, design, and construction phases—a process that took nearly twenty years. These panels tell that story.
A Promise Made
The process of planning and designing the new highway through Glenwood Canyon was lengthy, intense—and public. Designers were especially challenged to create model graphics that would realistically depict the finished product. They did this by using artists' renderings, sophisticated computer simulations and actual models. Designers walked every foot of the canyon many times and literally adjusted the location of the road by inches to save a tree
or keep from blasting a cliff face. It was this personal commitment to excellence and attention to detail that ultimately gave the people what they wanted—the best that can be accomplished in highway design and construction.
Making it Fit
The unique terrain in Glenwood Canyon, combined with the unusual environmental constraints facing the builders, required special construction techniques and equipment. While cranes and bulldozers are familiar sights to most people, Glenwood Canyon became the venue for equipment rarely seen in highway construction. A bright red and white steel gantry made it possible to build the two longest bridges in the canyon without disturbing the ground below. Much of the special construction equipment employed in the canyon was adapted to accomplish tasks for which it was not designed.
A Promise Kept
Highway planners envisioned a divided, four-lane highway through the canyon that would not conflict with the natural environment. Instead, the highway should complement the canyon's magnificence.