WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- During the Independence Day holiday weekend of 2017, a record amount of traffic caused long backups that made traveling to the Pikes Peak summit a full-day trip for many.
In the past two weekends, similar amounts of traffic congestion have filled the westbound lanes of U.S. 24 between Woodland Park in Teller County and Cascade in El Paso County -- a distance of around 10 miles.
There could be even more traffic issues during the upcoming holiday weekend.
"I don't think that problem is just Woodland Park," said Michelle Peulen, a spokeswoman with the Colorado Department of Transportation. "I think what we're seeing is folks are just ready to get out. We've been cooped up now with either the Stay at Home or Safer at Home (COVID-19 health order) for over 100 days."
Peulen said that has CDOT concerned.
"We know that folks are frustrated with being home, and we're concerned that they may take that aggression out onto the roadway," she said.
Peulen asks that people drive safely and obey the rules of the road. Extra law enforcement officers will be on patrol this weekend to help keep the traffic situation under control.
Rick Reed has lived along that stretch of U.S. 24 since 1996, and he said traffic continues to worsen every year.
"More people want to go into the mountains where it's cooler in summer," he said. "Wrecks can really back traffic up, too. You used to be able to stand out here and talk, and now you can't hear yourself talk at all. To get away from it, you have to leave early and come back late."
Many drivers also blame the short duration of traffic signals in Woodland Park for backing up traffic.
For years, people have talked about whether a bypass around Woodland Park should be built to ease some of the traffic congestion from summer travelers and winter skiers.
CDOT has no plans to design and build such a project, but Elijah Murphy -- a Woodland Park businessman -- said the idea has more support than you might think.
"When it was first discussed, most business owners were against it," he said. "How much would it cost and where exactly would you put it? But now, more of us are in favor of it because there's a ton of traffic coming through here."
Some restaurant owners report mixed results from the traffic congestion; it may bring them more customers but also may make finding convenient parking more difficult.