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I-70 East at 47th Avenue & Williams Street Photosimulations

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 Statement (EIS) to determine the answers. POITRA Visual was selected to provide design visualization services and a comprehensive public information website for the project.*

Photo-simulation was thought to be the best medium for accurate and convincing presentations.

POITRA Visual aerial simulation of I-70 Viaduct existing view.
POITRA Visual aerial simulation of I-70 cover proposed view.
POITRA Visual aerial simulation of I-70 cover proposed view.
POITRA Visual aerial simulation of I-70 cover proposed view.

POITRA created aerial view visual simulations of the propsed alternatives for I-70 at a later stage in the project.

Photo-realistic photo simulation and design visualization services by POITRA Visual

Photosimulations | Mouse-over images below to toggle:


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The early alternatives that the EIS looked at included two alignments that re-routed I-70 with a long out of direction loop to the north. A visual simulation was required to show the proposed structure as it skirted an historic northern neighborhood on the more western of the two alignments.

POITRA modelers created an accurate 3D model of the viaduct which was camera matched with the base photograph. Artists cound then determine what areas of the background would need to be restored. POITRA relied upon its principal's previous career experience in bridge design to ensure accuracy in the model's construction.

left quotation markThe greater the area of original background photograph that needs to be replaced the greater the danger of loosing believability in the simulation. This image is an example of that challenge. ”

Matt Poitra, POITRA Visual
Visual Simulations Project Manager

Several existing buildings were to be removed from the path of the new viaduct. In the simulation view these removals would exposed several of the remaining buildings beyond. POITRA artists carefully reproduced these newly exposed buildings as they removed the appropriate foreground buildings. These large areas of restored background are visible in the photosimulation all along the horizon below the viaduct. This work was accomplished using traditional digital painting techniques. The 3D model was then lighted to match the photograph, rendered and combined with it to create the final simulation.

Special effort was required to bring the bare foreground trees to the front of the viaduct and to depict Brighton Boulevard which parallels I-70 underneath the viaduct at this location.

The finished simulations were used by CDOT in the I-70 East EIS public meetings, newsletters and as exhibits in the Draft EIS Document.end of article

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Take a closer look! The highly developed skills of the Artists at POITRA Visual make your concept a reality. (click to magnify)

Take Another Look! POITRA created an animated 3d model of the I-70 East SDEIS Preliminarily Identified Preferred Alternative at a later stage in the project. (click to magnify)