DOUGLAS COUNTY – If you’re planning to make the commute through the 18-mile long Gap Project on I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock, be prepared to behave. Not everyone making the drive between Tomah Rd. and Castle Rock is following the 65-mile an hour speed limit and there have been a high number of accidents in that stretch since the project started.
The lanes are narrow and the roadway is rough in many places. Drivers are intimidated by the concrete walls that hug the lanes. Accidents occurring in that particular stretch are posing a new challenge for first responders and drivers alike. There is no easy way to get to the accident or remove it from the lanes easily. Access is incredibly limited and it’s a problem that officials are currently trying to resolve.
Lately, a white, unmarked patrol car sits on the left shoulder of northbound just before Tomah Rd. with its blue and red light flashing. It’s being done in an effort to slow drivers down going into the construction zone. While drivers do need to keep their speeds at the posted limit, the unmarked cruiser seems to cause confusion for commuters. Most drivers assume that it’s an officer with either a car that’s been pulled over or it’s an accident on the left shoulder.
The “Move Over” law requires drivers to either move over one lane or slow down to pass by emergency equipment at a safe speed when you can’t get over. Drivers on northbound I-25 are attempting to merge to the right lane when they see the unmarked vehicle on the left shoulder. It’s common to see backups starting just after Monument Hill as a result.
Starting in the next few days, the Colorado State Patrol is starting a massive crackdown on anyone pushing the speed limit in the 18-mile long stretch. The tickets will carry a hefty price tag as fines are doubled in the work zone. It’s an effort to slow drivers down and hopefully cut down on the number of crashes. More importantly, slowing down helps to keep the construction workers safe as they work in the median.
There are no easy answers on how to deal with the construction and the delays that we’re going to see over the next three years. It’s a rough project all the way around. Unlike construction projects that run through a typical city, there are no main streets or secondary routes that you can use to avoid the stretch. You can always use Highway 83 or even Highway 105, but in all reality, neither of those are perfect alternates. Start planning in a lot of extra time for the drive and plan on making sure that you’re not exceeding the posted limit.