Newly released census data show that Colorado was the sixth fastest-growing state over the last 10 years. Colorado’s population grew at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the nation between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this month. The Denver metro area and northern Colorado counties saw some of the strongest growth.
While the rapid growth over the last decade has boosted the Centennial state’s economy, it has also created significant challenges around traffic congestion. According to the Colorado Sun, Colorado’s highways were designed for a population of 3.5 million people. The state now has 5.8 million residents and approximately 4.2 million licensed drivers in 2019. Not surprisingly, the increase in population means more vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, Colorado’s transportation investments haven’t kept pace with population gains.
Traffic Congestion in Colorado – And what it’s costing us
A new economic report released by TRIP, a national transportation research non-profit, confirms what Colorado drivers have speculated for some time — that vehicle travel in Colorado has increased substantially in recent years. From 2000 to 2019, vehicle travel in Colorado increased by 31 percent, the ninth highest rate in the nation.
The increase in traffic not only impacts Colorado motorists’ bottom line but is also directly tied to the quality of life for the state’s residents. The report, “Keeping Colorado Mobile,” states congested roads and highways cost Colorado drivers $3.5 billion per year in lost time and wasted fuel. Annually, traffic delays cost the average Denver driver $1,242 per year or 26 gallons of wasted fuel, and 62 hours lost to congestion. In Colorado Springs, congestion costs drivers $838 per year and 44 hours lost, while northern Colorado drivers lose about $460 per year and 22 hours annually.
Colorado’s 10 most congested highway segments
Here is TRIP’s list of Colorado’s ten most congested roads and highway segments. The results are based on the measured volume of traffic carried by a roadway compared to its capacity.
|RANK||ROUTE||URBAN AREA||SEGMENT||AVG. DAILY TRAFFIC|
|1||SH 470||Littleton, Lone Tree||Santa Fe Dr. to Yosemite St.||104,959|
|2||I-25||Denver||Hampden Ave. to Speer Blvd.||236,182|
|3||SH 83 (Parker Rd.)||Aurora||Hampden Ave. to Dartmouth Ave.||79,662|
|4||SH 88 (Arapahoe Rd.)||Greenwood Village, Aurora||I-25 to SH 83 (Parker Rd.)||65,656|
|5||I-25||Lone Tree, Denver||Lincoln Ave. to SH 285 (Hampden)||242,249|
|6||I-70||West Vail, Vail||Chaonix Rd. to Vail Rd.||45,000|
|7||SH 85 (Sante Fe Dr.)||Littleton||Blakeland Dr. to Mineral Ave.||43,455|
|8||SH 24 (Powers Blvd.)||Colorado Springs||Fountain Blvd. to Platte Ave.||61,909|
|9||SH 85 (Santa Fe Dr.)||Englewood, Denver||Hampden Ave. to I-25||93,128|
|10||SH 287||Westminster||SH 36 to 104th Ave.||39,047|
Without an updated, efficient, safe, and resilient transportation infrastructure, fighting traffic congestion will continue to be part of the daily routine for commuters in Colorado. Fortunately, a comprehensive statewide transportation funding package was signed into law on June 17. Senate Bill 21-260 will allocate nearly $5.3 billion in funding for transportation over the next decade, with the majority of it going towards maintenance and new construction on roads and highways across the state.
THE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT CHALAT HATTEN & BANKER
For more than three decades, the attorneys at Chalat Hatten & Banker PC have helped individuals and their families obtain justice and compensation after a car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car, truck, pedestrian, bus, or motorcycle accident, please call the car accident attorneys at Chalat Hatten & Banker at 303-861-1042 or send us an email below for a free, no-obligation consultation and evaluation of your case. We serve clients around the state of Colorado, including Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Aurora, Littleton, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.