Flash Flood Watch issued July 21 at 2:52AM MDT expiring July 22 at 12:00AM MDT in effect for: Archuleta, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, La Plata, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, San Juan, San Miguel
Interstate 25 will be completely closed in both directions from the Santa Fe Drive interchange to the Hampden Avenue interchange for the 2012 presidential debate at the University of Denver, the Colorado Department of Transportation warned Wednesday.
Tentative plans call for the closure to last five hours, from approximately 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Oct. 3.
Stacey Stegman, a spokeswoman for CDOT, said federal authorities requested the closure for the safety of drivers and those attending the debates.
Stegman said the agency dealt with a similar closure four years ago during the Democratic National Convention, when I-25 was closed from 6th Avenue to I-70 during rush hour.
Stegman said people heeded the travel warning.
"We were all astonished at how well it went,” said Stegman. “I think all of us thought of the worst case scenario, doom and gloom. The city is going to have gridlock. But that just wasn't the case."
The debate will be held in the Magness Arena at the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness. The venue is about 1,000 feet from the interstate highway.
“We recognize that motorists traveling through the area will experience some delay and inconvenience,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt. “We are working with multiple agencies on the local, state and federal level to do everything possible to keep those delays to a minimum.”
Alternate routes are advised and detours will be in place to provide motorists access to neighborhoods and other areas, but delays can be expected throughout the transportation system, CDOT said.
There are numerous ways for motorists to pass through the city. For southbound I-25 traffic:
I-25 to Santa Fe Drive (US 85)
• Continue south on Santa Fe Drive to Hampden Avenue and travel east/north on Hampden to I-25 (posted detour route)
• Continue south on Santa Fe to C-470 and travel east to I-25
I-25 to I-70
• West on I-70, connect to C-470 and travel south to I-25
• East on I-70, connect to I-225 and travel south to I-25
For northbound I-25 traffic passing through the city:
I-25 to Hampden Avenue
• Go west to Santa Fe Drive (US 85) and travel north to I-25 (posted detour route)
I-25 to I-225
• North on I-225 to I-70, then west to I-270 or I-25
The following arterial streets are recommended if you prefer to travel on other roadways:
To avoid the entire area, these routes provide additional options:
Southbound I-25 alternate routes
• I-76 east to I-270 to I-70 to I-225 (preferred)
• I-70 east to I-225 (preferred)
• E-470 to I-70 or I-25 (tollway)
Northbound I-25 alternate routes
• C-470 west to I-70 (preferred)
• I-225 to I-70 (preferred)
• E-470 to I-70 or I-25 (tollway)
University Boulevard is not a recommended route on debate day as it will be closed in sections at various times. Also, beginning at approximately 6 p.m. on October 2, Buchtel Boulevard will be closed from Franklin Street to University Boulevard with local eastbound access to High Street.
Please remember that all closures, dates and times are subject to change and delays are to be expected throughout the system.
On the day of the debate, CDOT and Denver Public Works will work to minimize further impacts to roadways from construction and maintenance work in the affected area.
Also, oversize/overweight vehicles and longer vehicle combinations (LVCs) will be prohibited from travel on the I-25 corridor between I-225 and I-76 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on US 85 (Santa Fe Drive) between I-25 and Hampden Avenue (US 285) and on Hampden Avenue between Santa Fe Drive and I-25 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Extended Courtesy Patrol (CDOT’s free motorist assistance program) services will be provided on I-25 all day on October 3. In addition, the routes and services will be extended to 10 p.m. on Oct. 3 on I-25, I-225, US 6 and I-70, Hampden Avenue and Santa Fe Drive to ensure added safety and mobility of travelers.
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is planning to operate the entire light rail system on its normal weekday schedule. The bus routes will experience detours due to street closures, which will be posted on the RTD website at www.rtd-denver.com. RTD is asking that passengers add time to their commute and have patience.
Tickets to the debate are not available to the public. Debate tickets allocated to the University by the Commission on Presidential Debates will be distributed to University of Denver students randomly via lottery.
The debate will be broadcast on Denver's 7 and livestreamed on TheDenverChannel.com.