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Increased traffic congestion a concern on U.S. 24 near Woodland Park as holiday nears

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.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.



  1. You would have to pay me to live in woodland park. And it’s only going to get worse and there’s nowhere to expand the road it’s in a canyon. soon it’s going to be like when you go to the outer banks in North Carolina enjoy.

  2. Woodland Park is too corrupt to ever change the traffic issue. They are known as the city with the perpetual red lights. They don’t care and it will never change. In CDOT’s mind, Teller County doesn’t vote correctly to get a highway that goes around Woodland Park. Those nice roads are given to the Denver/Metro area and other towns that vote correctly.

  3. Guess if the City didn’t like the congestion they would tell CDOT to fix the rotation of the lights in the town. Or they would have built the bypass they initially talked about adding over a decade ago.
    If you have to go through Woodland Park, the best way to deal with it is,
    Before you come to Aspen Garden Way, (turn-off before Safeway) take left on Aspen Garden Way.
    follow until you come to S. Woodland Ave. / Old Crystola Rd. take a right,
    Follow until you come to E. Laura Ln. take a left
    Stay on E. Laura Ln. until it turn left into E. Valley Dr.
    Stay on E. Valley even as it turns into W. Valley Rd.
    Continue until you come to CR. 231 take a left
    Stay on 231 until you come back to 4 way turn light back at Hwy 24, make a left.
    Congratulations you have missed nearly every light in Woodland park and depending on traffic potentially cut off 10 minutes of the ridiculously poorly timed lights that are obviously made to lure drivers passing through to stop.
    I know the City of Woodland Park will blame CDOT for the flow of the lights, as they have before, but one would think that the lights that are in the city, the city would be able to influence CDOT to make the flow better. Which leads one to the answer, that the poorly timed lights in Woodland Park are poorly timed to cause an increase in shopping for the local businesses. Not that i can fault them for wanting to generate more revenue, but imagine if your patrons choose to stop because of the service, and not just because the lights are infuriatingly poorly timed.

    1. Congratulations on spreading the congestion to the back streets as well as the main roads.

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