Engineers in the past week have huddled over blueprints in an underground complex that also can serve as a safe haven for visiting presidents in the event of an emergency and as a lookout point for government agents monitoring terrorist activity. (Denver Post)
The underground complex is in wing off the Glenwood Canyon Tunnel section of Interstate-70 in Colorado. And the engineers are huddling there because it’s caving in:
A crack in concrete above the main Glenwood Canyon tunnel on Interstate 70 is growing wider and worse than expected and will force multimillion-dollar repairs while the tunnel is closed all summer.
The troublesome crack is above the eastbound lanes of the Hanging Lake Tunnel. It is in the ceiling of an empty wing of the five-story traffic-management center, which serves as the brains for a highway equipped with zoom video cameras, seismic sensors, pavement temperature sensors and satellite weather monitors.
But all those gizmos and the banks of computers that made Glenwood Canyon a model “smart highway” for other road-building projects couldn’t outsmart a crack in the highway’s nerve center.
The crack first was noticed in July during a routine maintenance inspection and has been monitored and measured every two weeks. In February, it began leaking water and widening.
Colorado Department of Transportation officials began putting funding into place, knowing a repair would be necessary. Several weeks ago, the crack widened more – it is now 70 feet long, 4 1/2 feet deep and 1 1/2 inches wide – and that set off a flurry of action.
Engineers also have been getting helicopter views of the damaged area and the cliffs that dropped minivan-sized rocks onto the underground building, causing the crack.
If I promise not to tell anyone, can we make this Vice-President Cheney’s “undisclosed location”? Please?