Congested roads and highways cost Colorado drivers $3.5 billion a year in lost time and wasted fuel, according to a new economic report. And the rising traffic is having an impact not only on motorists’ wallets but on the quality of life in the Centennial State and its economic health.
The report, “Keeping Colorado Mobile,” was released by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit. It confirms and quantifies what frustrated drivers have known for some time — that vehicle travel in Colorado has increased substantially in recent years (up 31 percent from 2000 to 2019, the ninth highest rate of increase in the country). Although the pandemic shutdown interrupted that trend, traffic volume has been on the rebound since late last year; nationally, the number of fatal traffic accidents actually increased last year.
According to the report, traffic delays cost the average Denver driver $1242 a year, or 26 gallons of wasted fuel and 62 hours lost to congestion. Congestion costs Colorado Springs drivers $838 a year and Pueblo drivers $431. The report’s authors call for increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state, and federal level to fight the problem.
Fighting congestion is no easy matter, of course. But by planning ahead and limiting your trips at peak travel times, you can try to avoid the major bottlenecks and become a part of the solution. Here is the TRIP list of Colorado’s ten most congested highway segments, based on measured volume of traffic carried by a roadway compared to its capacity.
|ROUTE||LOCATION||SEGMENT||AVG. DAILY TRAFFIC|
|SH 470||Littleton||Santa Fe Dr to Yosemite||104,959|
|I-25||Denver||Hampden to Speer Blvd||236,182|
|Parker Rd.||Aurora||Hampden to Dartmouth||79,662|
|Arapahoe Rd.||Aurora||I-25 to Parker Road||65,656|
|I-25||Lone Tree||Lincoln Ave to Hampden||242,249|
|I-70||Vail||Chaonix Rd to Vail Rd||45,000|
|Santa Fe Drive||Littleton||Blakeland Dr to Mineral Ave||43,455|
|Powers Blvd||CO Springs||Fountain Blvd to Platte Ave||61,909|
|Santa Fe Drive||Englewood||Hampden Ave to I-25||93,128|
|Federal Blvd||Westminister||SH 36 to 104th Ave||39,047|
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