MONUMENT, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation says it was having a problem clearing a traffic jam Wednesday night on Interstate 25 at Monument Hill where semis jackknifed and dozens of cars went off the road during the spring blizzard.
CDOT said one southbound lane was cleared at approximately 8:30 p.m. from Monument Hill to Colorado Springs. The road remained closed in both directions from the Plum Creek Parkway exit in Castle Rock to Woodman Road in Colorado Springs.
Some reports had approximately 1,000 vehicles involved in the jam.
According to Micki Trost with Colorado Emergency Management, the interstate had been closed since noon and was being made worse by drivers not cooperating.
“We need drivers to follow the directions of the emergency responders so we can clear the blocked stuck cars and jackknifed semis and reopen the highway,” Trost said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Spring Blizzard 2016
Most vehicles were removed by 10 p.m., and both northbound and southbound I-25 remained closed at Plum Creek and Monument Hill. Plows were going through as CDOT worked to clear the road before reopening.
Colorado Emergency Management, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol were on scene working to clear the interstate in both directions. Also helping was the National Guard with four teams — one out on I-70 towards Bennett, one up near Fort Morgan, and two down to Monument Hill. They have been rescuing stranded people with small unit support vehicles (SUSV).
Stranded motorists in some cases were being asked to turn around to get off the highway but were refusing.
“I was on my way home, I got to go home early but not early enough, and wound up getting stuck,” said one driver.
There were two jackknifed semis in the way but crews could not get tow trucks in to them because vehicles were in the way.
Because of the jam the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had about 115 stranded people in a shelter in Castle Rock called Kirk Hall located at 500 Fairgrounds Road. Sgt. Derek Castellano said rescue operations were also ongoing on Highway 83 as well as I-25 in the Greenland area, Lake Gulch Road and Russellville Road.
Another problem area popped in Denver Wednesday night where a multiple vehicle crash forced the closure of both lanes of I-25 from Downing to University just after 9:30 p.m. Nobody was seriously injured.
LINK: Traffic Section