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2 Denver Interchanges Still Rank as U.S. Worst Bottlenecks

Usually, when Colorado makes the top of a nationwide list, it’s for a beautiful or positive attribute. Unfortunately, our Mousetrap (a.k.a. I-70 and I-25 interchange) and I-76 interchange have once again made the annual list of the nation’s top 100 bottlenecks for trucks, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), an Arlington, VA-based transportation thing tank tasked with studying transportation issues. The ATRI put I-25/I-70 at the No. 30 spot, while I-25/I-76 came in at No. 54.

“With President Trump expected to press for significant long-term infrastructure spending, this ATRI analysis should be a key guide for deciding what projects are worthy of funding,” said American Trucking Association's President Chris Spear. “Ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods should be a national priority and this report draws attention to the places where our highway network needs improvement in order to meet that goal.”1

Denver’s Storied I-25 Bottleneck Problems and Plans to Fix Them

2 Denver Interchanges Still Rank as U.S. Worst Bottlenecks | Denver Truck Accident Attorney

2 Denver Interchanges Still Rank as U.S. Worst Bottlenecks | Denver Truck Accident Attorney

The following is look back at how Denver got its own bottleneck areas, and the plans that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has to try and remedy them:

  • The Mousetrap pre-dates the Interstate Highway System and was built as part of an intersection between two local roads in 1951.
  • After a military transport truck carrying a load of torpedoes from Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, WY overturned, the Mousetrap was completely reconfigured in 1987. People living nearby had to be evicted, and some cars were stranded in the area for nearly eight hours.
  • An interchange was built for I-25 and I-76 in 1993 to be a link between Pecos and I-25.
  • The Mousetrap has an average speed of 37 mph during rush hour.
  • Nearly a quarter of a million drivers pass through or by each interchange every day.
  • CDOT’s latest plan for I-70 east of the Mousetrap is to lower the highway about 40 feet below grade and cover it like a tunnel with a park above it. The estimated price tag for the project is $1.2 billion.
  • There are no plans at present to reconfigure the I-25 and I-75 interchange.

The worst reported bottleneck in the United States is in Atlanta, GA is known as the “Spaghetti Junction,” and serves as the interchange for I-285 and I-85.

Leading Causes of Traffic Congestion and Bottlenecks on Roadways

The DOT Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) simple definition for a traffic bottleneck is: A localized constriction of traffic flow. Expanded definition: A localized section of highway that experiences reduced speeds and inherent delays due to a recurring operational influence or a nonrecurring impacting event. The following are six contributing factors to traffic bottlenecks, according to the FHWA:

  • Limited lanes or roadway
  • Poorly functioning traffic signals
  • Car and truck accidents
  • Road construction
  • Bad weather
  • Special events (like sporting events, concerts, festivals, etc.)

Contact a Denver Truck Accident Attorney at Warshauer McLaughlin Law Group

Have you been involved in a pile-up accident, single-car accident, or truck accident at one of Colorado’s problem intersections? If so, contact our Denver Truck Accident Attorney at Warshauer McLaughlin Law Group, who will help you navigate the complex legal process and help you get restitution for damages, if any are owed. Our compassionate and trustworthy legal experts will give you personalized attention and fight ardently for your rights. If you were injured and another driver is negligent, we’ll work every hard to win you compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. Let our attorney build a strong case for you, so you can focus on recovering.

For a free and no-obligation consultation, call us today at (720) 420-9800 or email us using the contact form on this page. Our office is located in Denver, but we also represent those living in the Front Range area.


1“Worst U.S. Bottlenecks: 2 Denver Interchanges Are on The List” published in Denver Business Journal, January 2017.

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