Just after 1:30 p.m Monday, the Colorado Department of Trasportation issued a warning that drivers avoid the Interstate 25 "Gap" widening project between Monument and Castle Rock because the worst of the current winter storm was expected the area during evening rush hour.
Ten minutes after that warning, authorities closed the southbound lanes between Monument Hill and Larkspur because of a crash.
Traffic was so backed up that the responding Larkspur Fire Department had to walk to the accident scene.
According to the Colorado State Patrol, the crash involved two cars and two semitrailers. One person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The cause of the accident was unavailable as of Monday evening.
Traffic remained slow to south Castle Rock as of 4 p.m.
The situation highlights the challenges faced by CDOT crews trying to keep the Gap clear during winter storms and in heavy traffic.
Marc Schulz, a CDOT foreman, said Monday that six crews are assigned to the Gap -- to remove snow and treat ice where necessary -- but the common problem is not the weather, but drivers who exceed the speed limit, follow too closely or don't have proper tires on their vehicles.
Those habits, CDOT revealed last month, contributed to a 60% increase in crashes along the Gap since construction began.
CDOT crews pre-treated I-25 early Monday morning before the storm, using salt brine until temperatures dropped below freezing and magnesium chloride was applied to the freeway.
"Having a lot of traffic actually helps us because it helps apply our materials to the surface," Schulz said. "But when there's a crash, we get caught behind it just like other drivers do. We can do only so much then."
Still, Schulz said he'd like to see more safe driving through the Gap, especially during adverse weather conditions.