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I-70 and Dahlia Street Interchange FEIS 3D Simulations

CDOT, Denver, Colorado

Interstate 70 is the primary east west artery through the Denver metropolitan area. A large portion of I-70 just east of I-25 was elevated on an aging early interstate era viaduct 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 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 study.*

Part of the visualization task was to create a 3D model of the two mile segment of I-70 that would illustrate the most significant section of the preferred alternative. Images and animations were published for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and updated for publication with the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

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.

1. 3D Animation of Proposed Interchange: An animated camera flies around the Dahlia Street underpass structure and the I-70 ramp connections while traffic moves past on the highway above and navigates the interchange.

2. 3D Animation of the I-70 Corridor: An animated camera follows I-70 from Brighton Boulevard to Dahlia Street placing the interchange and ramps in context with the rest of the transportation project.

3D Animations

Click thumbnail images at right to toggle the animated 3d model visualizations:

As in the Supplemental DEIS, the FEIS preferred alternative removed the existing viaduct and lowered 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 lowered highway. The model was the primary tool used to quickly 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 FEIS Model included five interchanges, four overpasses and the cover, two rail crossings, two utility bridges and five large detention basins.

left quotation markUpdating the entire model to reflect the FEIS design gave our modelers the chance to tighten up anything that they may not have been perfectly satisfied with the first time around.”

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, barriers, walks, islands, medians, traffic, pavement markings and vegetation.

POITRA modelers laid out the project from concept level plans. The gentle grade of the existing ground from one end of the project to the other was leveled in the model to make traffic animation easier. 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 clearances were correct and the roadway surfaces met up as planned.

The updates during the FEIS modified all of the interchanges and many local streets, removed and added overpasses and access ramps, eliminated the pedestrian bridges and added a complete stormwater drainage and detention system.

Once the FEIS model updates were complete POITRA modelers rendered a large series of still views for each major node: interchanges, overcrossings and the stormwater system. A series of animations were also rendered for each node which included moving traffic, people and even flowing water. The animations were created in High Definition (HD) at 24 frames per second to meet news media requests.

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 I-70 East SDEIS public hearings and re-published for the FEIS Public Hearings. end of article


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