DENVER – Most of Colorado’s major highways reopened Thursday – some more than 24 hours after they originally were shut down because of crashes and extreme blizzard conditions.
Interstate 70 reopened from Denver to the Kansas line just before 1 p.m. after being closed for around 24 hours, though high winds were still causing blowing snow along some stretches of the highway.
Though some stretches of I-25 near the Palmer Divide opened Thursday morning, crews worked into the early afternoon to clear the road of vehicles stranded in Wednesday’s storm, which stranded more than 150 vehicles in the area.
The stretch of highway between Castle Rock and Monument reopened at 3 p.m., though there were still long waits because of traffic backups after the 24+ hour closure.
While many people went to warming shelters Wednesday evening to wait for the road to open, some drivers spent 24 hours on I-25.
“We had pretty much a full tank of gas, water and snacks, so we just hunkered down in the car and this is where we stayed,” a man named Don told Denver7. He lives just 10 minutes from where he was stuck overnight.
Though the wait was frustrating for many, most drivers gave thanks to CDOT and law enforcement for their work in rescuing drivers and clearing the road.
The Red Cross provided blankets and food overnight for 700 people who stayed at two Douglas County shelters.
Interstate 76 reopened from the Denver area to the Nebraska state line around 2:45 p.m. and U.S. Highway 287 reopened from Old State Highway 287 to the Wyoming border shortly after 3 p.m.
While most of the major interstates and highways were open by Thursday afternoon, many other state highways and local roads were still shut down in northeastern Colorado because of massive snow drifts and gusting winds.
Roads in Elbert County will remain closed until at least Friday morning, the county's office of emergency management said.
"Please stay home or in safe shelter and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE in Elbert County today," the office tweeted. "There is a high chance you may become stranded. STAY SAFE!"