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Driving You Crazy: Did CDOT screw up some highway signs in Watkins and Golden?

They used the multi-color shield instead of green shield
Highway 93
I-70 Watkins
I-70 business loop
Posted at 5:14 AM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 10:42:35-04

Chris from Denver writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Did CDOT screw up on the sign to the I-70 Watkins exit? They used the "regular" Interstate 70 iconology (multi-color) vs. the business I-70 iconology (green and white) on one sign. I can just imagine more than one trucker has been confused by it. Also, in Golden on Washington Street at Highway 58, there is a U.S. Highway (black and white) sign designation for CO 93 (state highway). I don’t think 93 has ever been a federal highway.”

The short answer, Chris, is yes. The Colorado Department of Transportation messed up both signs, but some of the signs on I-70 are wrong in an additional and different way.

Starting in Golden with the State Highway 93 sign. Ben Kiene, CDOT’s Region 1 Traffic Operations Engineer, confirmed “This is supposed to show S.H. 93, not U.S. 93. We will fix it.”

“Technically you could eventually drive from Golden to U.S. 93, which runs through Nevada where U.S. 6 meets it,” Kiene further explained.

U.S. 93’s southern point starts at Wickenburg, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix. From there, U.S. 93 runs north to and past the U.S.-Canada border. It goes through major cities like Kingman, Arizona; Las Vegas and Ely, Nevada; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Missoula and Kalispell, Montana, before ending in the U.S. at the Canadian border.

According to Matthew Salek of The Highways Of Colorado website, Colorado State Highway 93 is an original 1920s state highway. At first, it went from Morrison north along the hogback road to Golden. It was paved by 1939, and that same year, it was extended north to Marshall — the little town just south of Boulder.

By 1954, it was only connecting Marshall to Boulder and wasn't paved. It took another year for State Highway 93 to be extended south to State Highway 72 at the mouth of Coal Creek Canyon, and the extension included paving. The highway remained that way until 1984 when it was extended south to Golden via Washington Street to State Highway 58. The highway was moved west in 1992 and named the West Golden Bypass, making State Highway 93 hook up with the U.S. 6/State Highway 58 intersection at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon.

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Regarding the I-70 sign near Watkins, the problem Chris describes is with the sign just before exit 295 on the westbound side of I-70. Yes, that sign shows the red, white and blue shield rather than the green business route sign.

The other problem in that area is that where there are business route signs, they indicate that small section of road north of I-70 is a business loop rather than a spur.

“Similarly, there seems to have been a mix up in either the layout or fabrication of the Watkins signs, which should be green 'spur' markers,” Kiene said.

That I-70 business spur is a very short segment of roadway between I-70 and State Highway 36 (Colfax Avenue) just to the north of I-70. The route is only signed at the two exit ramps from eastbound or westbound I-70 at mile marker 295. Both of the signs refer to the business route as a loop instead of what they should be — a spur.

You might be asking what the difference is between a business route and a spur. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials defines a business route as “a route principally within the corporate limits of a city which provides the traveling public an opportunity to travel through that city, passing through the business part of the city. and connects the regular numbered route at the opposite side of the city limits.”

A business spur has one end — not both — running from the parent interstate to another highway or roadway in the city area. Business routes and spurs are supposed to be marked with a white on green shield — different than the standard tri-color interstate shield.

CDOT tells me they will eventually replace the Watkins loop signs with spur signs. If you see something wrong with a sign or a road, you can report those to me or to CDOT directly and using their interactive site to get to a form on their website.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.