DENVER (CBS4) – During next week’s presidential debate at the University of Denver, a section of Interstate 25 and several side streets surrounding the campus will be closed.
A five-mile stretch of I-25 from Santa Fe to Hampden will be closed from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3. The debate is at the Magness Arena on the DU campus at 7 p.m.
The City of Denver Transportation Management Center has been working and preparing for the five hour closure during the evening commute, a peak travel time on the interstate.
“This event is a little unusual,” said Director of Traffic Operations Matthew Wager. “We can see a fairly good representation of traffic city-wide. There are very few places in the city where we’re not monitoring traffic.”
An estimated 50,000 vehicles that use that stretch of I-25 during that time frame will be directed onto side streets.
“Drivers can expect some delays along the entire detour route,” said Wager.
One method to keep traffic moving along Santa Fe and Hampden, two main roads where traffic will be diverted during the closure, is to extend the timing on stop lights to allow vehicles to keep moving.
Drivers will be encouraged to use other main highways like E-470, C-470, I-70 and I-225. Transportation officials want to keep travel in neighborhoods to a minimum.
“We really hope that too many people don’t filter off into those residential type of streets where you’re dealing with being in front of people’s homes all the time with heavy traffic flow. We want people to be courteous and that all plays into planning ahead,” said Denver Public Works spokeswoman Ann Williams.
Denver Public Works said they are ready to take on the challenge. This isn’t the first time Denver has had to make other arrangements surrounding presidential candidates. Denver hosted the Democratic National Convention in August 2008.
Denver also faced some major traffic issues during the TREX construction project when I-25 was rebuilt through Denver.
“Actually, the detour we’re using for this event CDOT had in place during the TREX project, so we’re building on experience,” said Wager.
CDOT and the City of Denver have teamed up to develop a complete list of detours for drivers.
For southbound I-25 traffic passing through the city:
I-25 to Santa Fe Drive (US 85): Continue south on Santa Fe Drive to Hampden Avenue and travel east/north on Hampden to I-25 (posted detour route) OR Continue south on Santa Fe to C-470 and travel east to I-25
I-25 to I-70: West on I-70, connect to C-470 and travel south to I-25 OR East on I-70, connect to I-225 and travel south to I-25
For northbound I-25 traffic passing through the city:
I-25 to Hampden Avenue: Go west to Santa Fe Drive (US 85) and travel north to I-25 (posted detour route)
I-25 to I-225: North on I-225 to I-70, then west to I-270 or I-25
The following arterial streets are recommended if you prefer to travel on other roadways:
For east/west travel: 6th Avenue, Alameda Avenue, Yale Avenue
For north/south travel: State Highway (SH) 121 (Wadsworth Boulevard), SH 95 (Sheridan Boulevard), SH 88 (Federal Boulevard), Broadway, SH 2 (Colorado Boulevard), Monaco Parkway
To avoid the entire area, these routes provide additional options:
Southbound I-25 alternate routes: I-76 east to I-270 to I-70 to I-225 (preferred), I-70 east to I-225 (preferred), E-470 to I-70 or I-25 (tollway)
Northbound I-25 alternate routes: C-470 west to I-70 (preferred), I-225 to I-70 (preferred), E-470 to I-70 or I-25 (tollway)
University Boulevard is not a recommended route on debate day as it will be closed in sections at various times. Also, beginning at approximately 6 p.m. on October 2, Buchtel Boulevard will be closed from Franklin Street to University Boulevard with local eastbound access to High Street.
The RTD light rail will run during the presidential debate.