Colorado Highways: Interstate 76

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Location: North Metro Denver > North Eastern Plains
Length*: 184.14mi
SW End: Jct I-70 in Arvada (Exit 269)
NE End: Nebraska border northeast of Julesburg (link to Chris Geelhart's site)
Nationally: Continues northeast in Nebraska for less than two miles to end at I-80 south of Big Springs (185mi)

Counties: Jefferson, Denver, Adams, Weld, Morgan, Washington, Logan, Sedgwick
Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Commerce City, Brighton, Hudson, Keenesburg, Wiggins, Fort Morgan, Brush, Sterling, Julesburg

NHS: All Interstates are by default part of the NHS.

Freeway: Entire length (exit list).

Business Routes:

Scenic & Historic Byways: South Platte River Trail (Ovid to Julesburg)

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: I-70 Exit 269 interchange, Arvada (begin I-76 in Jefferson County)
  • 1.01: Enter Denver County
  • 1.18: Enter Jefferson County
  • 1.76: SH 95/Sheridan Boulevard interchange, Enter Adams County
  • 3.22: US 287/Federal Boulevard interchange
  • 5.77: I-25 Exit 216 interchange
  • 6.80: I-270 Exit 1 interchange
  • 8.05: SH 224/74th Avenue interchange, Commerce City
  • 9.48: US 6/US 85/Vasquez Boulevard interchange
  • 12.50: US 85 interchange
  • 16.48: SH 2/Sable Boulevard interchange
  • 25.15: Enter Weld County
  • 31.48: SH 52 interchange, Hudson
  • 38.92: BS I-76 interchange, Keenesburg
  • 60.89: Enter Morgan County
  • 63.88: US 6 interchange, west Wiggins
  • 66.09: SH 39/SH 52 interchange
  • 66.64: US 34 interchange
  • 75.70: US 34/BL I-76 interchange, west Fort Morgan
  • 78.85: SH 144 interchange
  • 80.13: SH 52 interchange, Fort Morgan
  • 89.63: SH 71 interchange, Brush
  • 91.69: US 6/Spur US 34/BL I-76 interchange
  • 99.13: Enter Washington County
  • 109.76: Enter Logan County
  • 115.19: SH 63 interchange, Atwood
  • 124.75: US 6/BL I-76 interchange, Sterling
  • 148.88: SH 55 interchange, Crook
  • 157.43: Enter Sedgwick County
  • 164.93: SH 59 interchange, Sedgwick
  • 180.22: US 385 interchange, Julesburg
  • 184.14: Nebraska border (end I-76)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

I-76 starts out at I-70 in Arvada at a "major split" interchange, with I-76 having a left exit off of eastbound I-70. The interchange blends together with I-70's interchange with Wadsworth Blvd., with there being several C-D roads. I-76 heads northeast through unincorporated Adams County, somewhat along the alignment of Clear Creek. It meets I-25 north of Denver in a tangle of ramps and bridges, with interchanges at I-25, I-270, US 36, I-76 and 70th Avenue all blending together. I-76 then heads northeast through Commerce City, and its only significant six-lane stretch being between the two US 85 interchanges in Commerce City (Exits 9 to 12).

Northeast of Commerce City I-76 strikes out across the eastern Plains, passing Brighton, Hudson, Keensburg and Roggen along the way. Between Roggen and Wiggins one particluar point near Milepost 59 is on a local high point, allowing a panoramic 360-degree view of the plains. I-76 then turns to the east as it passes Wiggins, and bypasses Fort Morgan and Bursh to their north sides. At Fort Morgan I-76 closes in on the south bank of the South Platte River and will follow it all the way to Nebraska.

East of Brush as I-76 turns northeast and goes through the US 6/Spur 34 interchange, I-76 changes its landscape. It begins hugging the side of the hills to the southeast of the river, forming the transition between the irrigated farmland along the river and the sand hills to the southeast. That's generally true all the way past Julesburg into Nebraska. I-76 has very few curves, too, as it was built through open land and doesn't have much to avoid.

As it continues northeast, I-76 passes Atwood, Sterling, Crook and Julesburg, with the Sterling and Julesburg interchanges the only ones to have an abundance of services. After Julesburg, I-76 crosses into Nebraska and two short miles later has its end at I-80.

Is I-76 an east-west or a north-south route? If you know your Interstate Highway Numbering System, you'll say, "Well, duh! It's an even number, so it's east-west." Tell that to Nebraska. Several signs at the I-76/80 interchange say "I-76 SOUTH Denver". And of course in Nebraska, you're only on I-76 for two miles before entering Colorado.

I-76 also has the distinction of existing in two completely different parts of the country. Open up your atlas to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Other Interstates that do this include I-86 and I-88.

Photo Gallery:

I-76 used to be called I-80S. It was changed in 1975 to get rid of the letter suffix, because AASHTO now frowns on Interstates with letter suffixes. There used to be a bunch of them, but the only ones that remain today are I-35E and I-35W in both Dallas/Fort Worth and the Twin Cities.

Here are when various portions of I-76 were complete according to state maps, from west to east:

I-70 to Sheridan Blvd.


Sheridan Blvd. to Federal Blvd.


Federal Blvd. to I-25


I-25 to Vasquez Blvd.


Vasquez Blvd. to US 85 (north)

Expressway built as part of US 6-85, pre-1957
Freeway 1976

US 85 (north) to Sable Blvd.


Sable Blvd. to Hudson (past Barr Lake)

Expressway built as part of US 6, pre-1957
Freeway 1994

Hudson to Roggen


Roggen to east Wiggins

Expressway built as part of US 6, pre-1957
Freeway built as part of US 6, 1960

East Wiggins to west Fort Morgan

Expressway built as part of US 6, pre-1957
Freeway 1980

West Fort Morgan to Brush


Brush to Sterling


Sterling to Crook


Crook to Sedgwick


Sedgwick to Julesburg


Julesburg to Nebraska border


When I-80S was changed to I-76, I-80S was already completed most everywhere in the state. The exceptions were from I-70 to I-25 (not built), past Barr Lake (still only an expressway), and west of Fort Morgan (still only an expressway). The Fort Morgan expressway was upgraded to freeway by 1980. West of I-25, I-76 was built in stages eastward from I-70, to Sheridan Blvd. by 1986, to Federal Blvd. by 1989, and to I-25 by 1994. Barr Lake expressway was upgraded to freeway in 1994.

The 20mph two-lane loop ramp that took traffic from southbound I-25 to eastbound I-76 was closed in November 2008. The loop was no longer needed following the opening in August 2008 of the flyover from EB I-270 to EB 76, since traffic from both SB 25 and EB US 36 can use I-270 to get to EB 76.

Related Site: I-76 (Western) @ Interstate Guide


Page created 30 May 2005
Last updated 9 March 2014