It took 13 years and $500 million to finish the stretch of I-70 running through Glenwood Canyon.
It’s been 20 years since the ribbon was cut and the project was complete.
Glenwood Canyon is a vital transportation corridor for western Colorado and often the road there is referred to as a "Modern Engineering Marvel."
The elevated highway has transformed the commute of millions of drivers.
"It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago, today, we were standing in the Hanging Lake tunnel cutting the ribbon," CDOT program engineer, Joe Elsen, said.
Elsen was just 22 years old when he started working on the Glenwood Canyon project as a surveyor.
"Eleven years of my life, it was just an incredible time," Elsen said.
Now when he drives that road, he's reminded of the work that launched him into his engineering career.
"There are always just great memories of places where we had a particularly challenging situation,” Elsen said. “Maybe it was a place where the bed rock was over a hundred feet down and it was a difficult foundation to put it."
Engineers ultimately constructed two roadways. One of them elevated, which greatly reduces environmental impacts.
"There are places in the canyon where it really looks like the bridges where lowered down from space,” Elsen explain.
The Glenwood Canyon project has received more than 30 awards since it was completed 20 years ago.
To this day, it’s still recognized for state-of-the-art techniques in rock excavation, handling traffic, and re-vegetation.