Carmageddon! I-25 closures to create traffic nightmare this weekend

DENVER — The I-25 Gap Lane Project will bring two full closures — the first for 10 hours, the second for 31 hours — of the major highway through Denver this weekend that is bound to create a traffic nightmare.

The project eventually will bring improved traffic flow to northbound Interstate 25 between Santa Fe Drive and the U.S. 6 interchange by creating a fourth through lane, but not this weekend.

To facilitate the project, both directions of the interstate will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Saturday, then again at 10 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Monday. The closures will begin to be set about one hour before the full closures will be implemented.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will implement detours in the area.

For northbound I-25, traffic will be detoured to northbound Santa Fe Drive, continue north to Eighth Avenue, then west to Kalamath Street, then south to westbound U.S. 6 to reconnect with northbound I-25.

For southbound I-25, traffic will detour west onto U.S. 6 to Federal Boulevard, then south to Fifth Avenue to merge onto eastbound U.S. 6, then reconnect with southbound I-25.

Eastbound U.S. 6 near I-25 also could experience delays with additional traffic flowing through the detour.

Northbound Santa Fe Drive will close just south of I-25 with traffic detoured to Mississippi Avenue west to Broadway (and eventually Lincoln Street). Access to businesses on Santa Fe will be available by taking Alameda Avenue.

CDOT says the closures will consolidate more than one month of work by restriping and shifting northbound lanes into the weekend.

“We can’t emphasize this strongly enough: avoid this area of I-25 during these closures if at all possible,” CDOT Project Director Kevin Sullivan said. “We expect extensive backups, prolonged travel delays and excessive traffic congestion if traffic numbers reach normal Sunday volumes.”

CDOT wants travelers to use Interstates 225 and 70, U.S. 285, C-470, E-470 or any other alternate routes during the closures.

“RTD’s light rail service is another option if you need to get downtown,” Sullivan said. “Realistically, the best bet is to cross I-25 off the list for that weekend and use alternative modes of transportation or alternate routes.”

Farther north, the I-25 North Express Lanes Project that is adding an HOV/tolled Express Lane in both directions beginning at 120th Avenue that will eventually connect to the existing Express Lanes at U.S. 36 will involve a closure this weekend as well.

One lane of the innermost portion of southbound I-25 between 84th Avenue and Thornton Parkway will be closed so I-25 pavement under the 88th Avenue bridge can be lowered.

“This portion of the I-25 North Express Lanes project has been reduced to 50 days from the original 100 days in order to minimize the impact to the traveling public,” project engineer Andy Stratton said. “In order for us to remain on schedule we must move forward with this closure as quickly as possible despite weather delays.”