Interstate 25 in Colorado

Interstate 25 in Colorado

infobox road
maint=Colorado Department of Transportation

terminus_a=jct|state=NM|I|25 at New Mexico state line
junction=jct|state=CO|US|50 in Pueblo
jct|state=CO|US|24 in Colorado Springs
jct|state=CO|US|36 in Denver
jct|state=CO|US|40 in Denver
jct|state=CO|I|70 in Denver
jct|state=CO|I|76 near Denver
jct|state=CO|US|6 near Denver
jct|state=CO|US|34 near Loveland
terminus_b=jct|state=WY|I|25 at Wyoming state line
In the U.S. state of Colorado, Interstate 25 follows the north-south corridor through Colorado Springs and Denver. It replaced U.S. Highway 87 and most of U.S. Highway 85 for through traffic.

Historical nicknames for this route have included the Valley Highway (through Denver), Monument Valley Highway (through Colorado Springs), and the Pueblo Freeway (through Pueblo). Within El Paso County, the route has been dedicated as the Ronald Reagan Highway. [ [ Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library ] ] [ [ Interstate 25 ] ] In Pueblo County, the route is called John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.

Interstate 25 is also considered to be part of the unofficial Pan-American Highway. [cite web|url=|author=Sierra County Economic Development Organization|title=Transportation and Highways|accessdate=February 2008]

Route description

New Mexico state line to Pueblo

Following the Santa Fe Trail from New Mexico, Interstate 25 enters Colorado as a typical two-lane Interstate highway, where its entire route in Colorado lies close to the east side of the Rocky Mountains. The route turns from north to west-northwest as I-25 serves Wootton. After leaving Wootton, I-25 turns back up north and bypasses near the east side of the Trinidad Lake State Park, home of the Trinidad Lake.

Trinidad, a city near the Trinidad Lake, is the first major city that lies along I-25. For the next convert|30|mi|km, I-25 continues north through the rural areas of Colorado until it reaches the small city of Walsenburg, where the business route - I-25 Bus. - junctions with U.S. Highway 160. I-25 then continues in a north-northwest direction until it bypasses the Orlando Reservoir, then turns north from there until it reaches Colorado City. In Colorado City, I-25 interchanges with the east end of the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway (SH 165) at exit 74.

After leaving the city, I-25 follows in a north-northeast orientation until it reaches the St. Charles Reservoir just before entering the city of Pueblo, with the first exit within the southern city limits of Pueblo at exit 94.Cite map|publisher=Rand McNally|title=The Road Atlas|year=2006|page=32] The Arkansas River in Pueblo serves as a feeder to the Pueblo Lake State Park, home of the Pueblo Lake, which is located to the west of the western city limits of Pueblo.Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed February 2008 via [ ACME Mapper] ]

Pueblo to Denver

After leaving Pueblo, I-25 continues up north with the Southern Pacific Railroad paralleling closely to the route on the right side after interchanging with Porter Draw at exit 106. By exit 119, the Fountain Creek joins along and travels parallel with I-25, and continues all the way to the Fountain Creek National Park in Pueblo. I-25 gradually turns from a general north direction to the north-northwest and serves the census-designated place of Buttes at exit 122.

from exits 150 to 156, and goes through the east side of the territory.


After entering Arapahoe County, I-25 interchanges with I-225, a spur that detours motorists to I-70, at exit 200. I-25, then goes around in a general northwest direction before interchanging with US 6 at exit 209. Then I-25 curves around the west side of downtown Denver,Cite map|publisher=Rand McNally|title=The Road Atlas|year=2006| page=31] where it can be accessed by I-70 Bus. at exit 210.Cite map|publisher=Rand McNally|title=The Road Atlas|year=2006| page=31] I-25 then interchanges with I-70 at exit 213 right before leaving the City and County of Denver.Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed February 2008 via [ ACME Mapper] ]

Denver to Wyoming state line

As I-25 leaves Denver, the route continues up north and interchanges with I-76, I-270, and the Denver-Boulder Turnpike (US 36). Due to the complexity of this triangle-shaped interchange, it was known to be one of many malfunction junctions throughout the United States. Beyond that interchange and exit 220, I-25 slips its way through a narrow path between the Badding Reservoir (west side) and the Croke Lake (east side).

At exit 228, I-25 interchanges with the northern termini of E-470 and Northwest Parkway at a stack interchange, with the Larkridge Mall just to the north, served by 160th Avenue (SH 7). As I-25 continues north, it passes through a medley of lakes and reservoirs to the east and north of Fort Collins.Cite map|publisher=Rand McNally|title=The Road Atlas|year=2006| page=31] Afterwards, the interstate gradually makes a north-northeast turn as it heads for the Wyoming state line.Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed December 2007 via [ ACME Mapper] ]


Ancestors and early freeways

Colorado had begun planning of a modern inter-city route along the Front Range as early as 1944, well before the national movement toward an Interstate Highway system.

State Highway 1, an unpaved road, was completed between Denver and Pueblo by 1919. Average travel time between Pueblo and Colorado Springs on this route was approximately 2.5 hours (or a full 8.5 hours from Pueblo to Denver). This route was upgraded with the help of the federal government to become US 85 and US 87 by 1930, now paved in concrete and shortening the travel time between Pueblo and Colorado Springs to just one hour.

The cities of Denver (in 1948) and Pueblo (in 1949) were first to begin building multi-lane highway segments along the route of what would eventually become Interstate 25. Denver's segment was originally known as the Valley Highway and was completed by 1958. The city of Colorado Springs followed a similar theme with their Monument Valley Freeway, begun in 1955 and completed by July 1960. Pueblo's section - the Pueblo Freeway - was complete by July 1959. [ [ Interstate 25 ] ]

Interstate completion

As the national Interstate Highway System began to take shape, actual "inter-state" connections began to be made. Wyoming came first in 1964, building a convert|9|mi|km|sing=on link north to Cheyenne that was connected to Colorado's convert|17|mi|km|sing=on stretch.

Linking to New Mexico in the south would prove more problematic as the planned route had to stretch over Raton Pass, and its accompanying convert|1800|ft|m|sing=on elevation change, within just convert|13|mi|km. Once again, US 85 and US 87 were used, but it had to be re-graded in places to meet Interstate design guidelines. Construction began in 1960, with a link to the city of Trinidad completed by 1963. The Trinidad Segment (as CDOT now calls the Raton Pass span) was not fully completed until 1968.

The final segment of the Colorado portion of Interstate 25, connecting the cities of Walsenburg and Trinidad, was completed during 1969. This meant that four lanes of high-speed, nonstop freeway were finally open for a total of convert|299|mi|km from New Mexico north to Wyoming. [ [ Interstate 25 ] ] [Kuennen, Tom, ed. "Interstate 50: 50 Years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". 2006: Faircount. pp 118-119. ISBN unavailable.]

Modern expansion

As both population and traffic increased in Colorado during the 1990s and 2000s, the Colorado Department of Transportation has planned and completed major improvements for the city corridors along I-25.

T-REX (Denver)

The first of these was Transportation Expansion (T-REX), which widened and expanded nearly convert|17|mi|km of both I-25 and the I-225 bypass in the Denver Metro area as well as adding various pedestrian and aesthetic improvements. T-REX was also instrumental in expanding Denver's RTD light rail lines to connect outlying communities beyond the city and county of Denver, adding convert|19|mi|km of new routes. [Kuennen, Tom, ed. "Interstate 50: 50 Years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". 2006: Faircount. pp 118-119. ISBN unavailable.] [ [ Metro Denver's multi-modal T-REX takes last step - Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation ] ]

The T-REX project was completed during 2006 at a cost of US$1.67 billion, under its projected budget and two years ahead of its originally scheduled conclusion. It has been hailed as a "model for other cities to follow" and "ahead of the curve nationally" by federal transportation and transit authorities. [ [ Metro Denver's multi-modal T-REX takes last step - Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation ] ]

COSMIX (Colorado Springs)

As T-REX began to wrap up, CDOT's next major effort began with Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion (COSMIX). It could be argued that COSMIX was even more important to Colorado's interests than T-REX had been, since the Colorado Springs corridor of I-25 had seen immense growth over the past four decades. Originally carrying around 8500 vehicles per day in 1960, usage of the former Monument Valley Freeway had grown to an average of 100,000 vehicles per day by 2005. [Kuennen, Tom, ed. "Interstate 50: 50 Years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". 2006: Faircount. pp 118-119. ISBN unavailable.]

The major goals of COSMIX, which began in 2005 and was completed during December 2007, were a general expansion and widening of the corridor to three lanes in each direction throughout the city, as well as the reconstruction of two main interchanges (at Bijou Street near downtown Colorado Springs, and at Rockrimmon Boulevard and North Nevada Avenue in the city's growing north side). [ [ Progress of Project ] ]

Though CDOT's role in COSMIX is complete, the City of Colorado Springs is continuing its own independent project to rebuild the Cimarron Street (US 24) bridge and interchange. This work is scheduled to be partially complete (allowing limited traffic) by May 2008, with full completion scheduled for August 2008. [ [ Pikes Peak Transportation ] ]


Since 2006, the Colorado Department of Transportation has begun work toward expanding the I-25 corridor between Colorado Springs and Denver, as well as the corridor between Denver and the city of Fort Collins (the "North Forty" project, in reference to the convert|40|mi|km of highway north of Denver that are affected). In both cases, growth of suburbs and smaller communities (such as Castle Rock and Longmont) have necessitated expansion much like that of T-REX or COSMIX (though on a less ambitious scale). [ [ CDOT | The North Forty | About ] ] [Kuennen, Tom, ed. "Interstate 50: 50 Years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". 2006: Faircount. pp 118-119. ISBN unavailable.]

Reconstruction of the aging Trinidad Segment is also underway, aimed mainly at rebuilding bridges and upgrading the highway to modern Interstate design standards. Construction began with demolition and reconstruction of the bridges during 2007, and the remaining viaduct reconstruction is scheduled to be completed during 2009. [ [ I-25 Trinidad under construction - Home ] ]

A New Pueblo Freeway project is in the planning stages. Currently, the draft includes an expansion to six lanes (three each direction), numerous interchange improvements, and enhancements to pedestrian routes and public parks along the corridor. Public review of the final plan is scheduled for the Fall of 2008. [ [ The New Pueblo Freeway ] ]

Exit list


External links

* [ Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)]
* [ COSMIX (CDOT project; website no longer being updated)]
* [ South I-25 Corridor: Lincoln Avenue through Castle Rock (CDOT project)]
* [ The North Forty (CDOT project)]
* [ I-25 Trinidad (CDOT project)]
* [ The New Pueblo Freeway (proposed CDOT project)]

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