MONUMENT – Labor Day traffic will increase throughout the day on all of the highways, but you can expect long delays later in the day along I-25, as many of the people who took to the roads for the holiday return home.
If you’re a sentimental type, take one last look at I-25 as we know it between Monument and Castle Rock. By this time next year, it won’t anything like it does today. Construction begins on “The Gap” in Castle Rock on Tuesday.
The stretch of I-25 known as “the Gap” is a total of 18-miles long and squeezes down to two lanes in each direction. As the Front Range has grown, traffic has increased and so has the sheer number of accidents along the stretch.
Last fall, El Paso County voters approved the allocation of funds to fix “The Gap.” The project comes with a cost of 350-million dollars and is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
I-25 will go from a four-lane highway to a six-lane highway. That is, with a catch. The extra lane I-25 is gaining in both directions is a controversial toll lane. That means commuters will experience the same two lanes, but you’ll have the option to spend some extra money to get past some of the delays in the new toll lanes.
In all fairness, the lanes and the shoulders will be wider on both sides. The highway will be safer for both the drivers and emergency responders. In the last three years, two Colorado State Troopers have died on that section of the roadway while they were working on accidents. Some of the curves that I-25 takes seem to cause drivers problems at times, especially north of Greenland.
You may or may not support the toll lanes, but we can all agree that something needed to be done to fix I-25. Over the next three years, you’ll have plenty of time to sit in your car and contemplate the changes while you sit in the construction delays. If you’re a regular five day a week commuter, it may be interesting to keep a log of those delays and then when the project is finished, you can look at whether or not you’ll ever make up for the time lost during the construction project.
Regardless of your thoughts on the project, there is one thing that we all need to remember. There will be large numbers of men and women out on that 18-mile long stretch working every day to improve the roadway and make it safer for commuters. It’s our job to make sure to keep those people safe. Slow down through the construction zone, do the posted limit in that area and pay attention to what’s happening around you.
Alternate routes to avoid the I-25 construction include Highway 83 and Highway 105. Keep in mind that a lot of people will have the same thought, so those two highways may not be any better when it comes to saving time. In fact, they may actually be worse.
There is no easy way around the construction. Plan in the extra time you’ll need when you get ready to head out the door because it will be a way of life for the next three years.