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I-70 and Dahlia Street Interchange 3D Simulations

CDOT, Denver, Colorado

Interstate 70 is the primary east west artery through the Denver metropolitan area. Many of its bridges and viaducts dated to the early interstate era and were in need of upgrade and replacement. A large portion of I-70 just east of I-25 was elevated on one of these aging viaducts badly in need of structural and capacity improvements. Half of this viaduct had been rebuilt by an earlier project. Major questions remained as to exactly how to replace the second half. The precise alignment was one these questions

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted the I-70 East Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to determine the answers. POITRA Visual was selected to provide design visualization services and a comprehensive public information website for the project.*

After producing serveral photo-simulations to support the view impact study POITRA was tasked with creating a 3D model of a two mile segment of I-70 that would illustrate the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) preferred alternative. It is known as the partial cover lowered alternative.

POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos">
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos
POITRA 3D Model Trucks and Autos

Take a closer look! POITRA uses a large library of its own stock 3D Model trucks and automobiles for use on proposed transportation projects.

POITRA often creates custom transportation models at no cost to the project.

3D Animations | Click thumbnail images below to view the 3d model animations:


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1. 3D Animation of Proposed Interchange: An animated camera flies around the underpass structure and the ramp connections while traffic moves past on the highway above and navigates the interchange.

The SDEIS preferred alternative removed the existing viaduct and set I-70 below grade. A large cover over the highway provided space for a public park to help connect the neighborhoods. Numerous street and rail crossings spanned the depressed highway. The model was the primary tool used to easily communicate the complex multi-level design concept to the public.

The model included all the residential, commercial and industrial properties within one block of either side of I-70, the complete highway system of four interchanges, three overpasses and the cover, two rail crossings, and two pedestrian crossings.

left quotation markWhen the model was being completed the project was in the concept design phase so POITRA had to rely on the Colorado M&S Standards publication in order to add the proper pavement markings essential for realism.”

M.P., POITRA Visual
Visual Simulations Project Manager

Since the public needed to quickly recognize the locations within the model a fairly high level of detail was called for. POITRA included fencing, retaining walls, soundwalls, curbs, traffic signals, soundwalls, barriers, walks, islands, medians, traffic, pavement markings and vegitation.

POITRA modelers laid out the project from concept level plans. Profile grades of I-70 and the interchange ramps as well as connections to cross streets had to be carefully managed to ensure that all vertical clearences were correct and the roadway surfaces met up as designed. Changes to the design during construction of the model were cause for major concerns.

The Dahlia Street Interchange marks the end of the subgrade segment of I-70. In fact the I-70 profile emerges from the subgrade to climb up and over Dahlia Street. It is the final interchange in the POITRA model.

Once the model was completed POITRA modelers rendered a large series still views for each major node: interchanges and overcrossings. A series of animations were also rendered for each node which included moving traffic. The animations were created in High Definition (HD) and at a 15 Frames Per Second (FPS) a standard frame rate for web publication.

POITRA created an interactive tour of the model on the I-70 East EIS public website using a 3D map navigation system for each node that include still views and animations chosen to best describe the project.

The model tour was published just prior to the SDEIS public hearings. end of article

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Take a closer look! The highly skilled Artists at POITRA Visual build and animate your design concept in 3D. (click to magnify)