Colorado Highways: US 24

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Location: Central Mountains > Southern Front Range > Eastern Plains
Length: 331mi implied; 274.40mi* signed
W End: Jct I-70/US 6 Exit 171 north of Minturn
E End: Kansas border with unmarked overlap on I-70 east of Burlington (link to Richie Kennedy's site)
Nationally: E End: Jct I-75 in Waterford, Michigan (1540mi)

Counties: Eagle, Lake, Chaffee, Park, Teller, El Paso, Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson
Places:
Minturn, Red Cliff, Leadville, Buena Vista, Hartsel, Florissant, Divide, Woodland Park, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, Calhan, Ramah, Simla, Limon, Seibert, Vona, Stratton, Bethune, Burlington

NHS:

Freeway: While on I-25 from Exits 141 to 139 and east from I-25 (Exit 139) to Chelton Road (exit list)

Expressway:

Spur Connection: From US 24 west of Limon northeast to I-70 (Exit 359)

Business Route: Manitou Springs

Broken Route: Discontinuous due to these unmarked multiplexes with Interstates:

Mountain Passes:

Roadway Names:

Memorial Designations:
Scenic & Historic Byways:

Milepost Guide:

  • 143.40: I-70/US 6 Exit 171 interchange at Dowd Junction (begin US 24 in Eagle County)
  • 165.89: Enter Lake County, Tennessee Pass
  • 174.64: SH 91 north of Leadville
  • 180.09: SH 300, Malta
  • 191.18: SH 82 east of Twin Lakes
  • 192.74: Enter Chaffee County
  • 212.90: West jct US 285 south of Buena Vista
  • 225.57: Enter Park County, Trout Creek Pass
  • 226.55: East jct US 285, Antero Junction
  • 238.23: West jct SH 9, Hartsel
  • 239.32: East jct SH 9, Hartsel
  • 267.21: Enter Teller County
  • 278.09: West jct SH 67, Divide
  • 284.82: East jct SH 67, Woodland Park
  • 288.46: Enter El Paso County
  • 297.08: West jct BR US 24 interchange, Manitou Springs
  • 299.06: Center jct BR US 24 interchange
  • 300.43: East jct BR US 24
  • 303.84: I-25 Exit 141 interchange, Colorado Springs
  • 303.41: I-25 Exit 139 interchange (milepost less than previous due to realignment)
  • 308.23: South jct SH 21 at Fountain Blvd/Powers Blvd
  • 310.88: North jct SH 21 at Platte Ave/Powers Blvd interchange
  • 312.43: SH 94 east of Colorado Springs
  • 350.58: Enter Elbert County
  • 376.56: Enter Lincoln County
  • 376.75: US 40-287-Spur 24 west of Limon
  • 377.67: West jct SH 71, Limon
  • 378.80: East jct SH 71, Limon
  • 379.19: I-70 Exit 361 interchange east of Limon
  • 380.46: I-70/US 40-287 Exit 363 interchange east of Limon (end US 24)
  • 419.95: CR 12/north I-70 frontage road west of Seibert (begin US 24 in Kit Carson County)
  • 422.70: SH 59, Seibert
  • 429.60: BS I-70, Vona
  • 437.20: SH 57, Stratton
  • 454.83: West jct US 385, Burlington
  • 455.88: East jct US 385
  • 456.02: BL I-70 (to Exit 438) in east Burlington
  • 457.29: On north I-70 frontage road east of Burlington (end US 24)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 7500 at I-70/US 6 Exit 171
  • 2500 at Gilman
  • 2100 north of Homestake Rd
  • 3000 north of SH 91
  • 9400 south of Mountain View Dr.,  Leadville
  • 3800 south of SH 300, Malta
  • 2700 south of SH 82
  • 12,200 south of Main St., Buena Vista
  • 5700 on US 24-285, Johnson Village
  • 2400 on US 24-285, Trout Creek Pass
  • 1400 east of US 285
  • 2600 on US 24/SH 9, Hartsel
  • 2000 west of CR 77
  • 3500 at Lake George
  • 15,900 east of SH 67, Divide
  • 29,900 east of Maple St., Woodland Park
  • 28,800 southeast of center jct BR 24
  • 43,000 northwest of I-25, Colorado Springs
  • 35,800 east of I-25
  • 29,700 east of Alvarado Dr
  • 38,700 on US 24/SH 21 north of Aeroplaza Rd
  • 42,300 east of Powers Blvd.
  • 17,700 east of SH 94
  • 4800 east of Peyton Hwy
  • 4900 at Colorado St., Calhan
  • 3000 east of Ramah Hwy.
  • 2200 east of Matheson
  • 3700 on US 24-40-287 east of Spur US 24
  • 7100 east of E Ave., Limon
  • 2000 between I-70 Exits 361 and 363
  • 120 west of Seibert
  • 470 east of SH 59, Seibert
  • 290 east of BS  70, Vona
  • 1200 west of SH 57, Stratton
  • 640 east of Stratton
  • 780 east of Bethune
  • 6000 on US 24-385, Burlington
  • 1100 northeast of BL 70

Guide:
Starting at I-70 Exit 171 north of Minturn, US 24 heads south via the Eagle River, through Minturn, the mining ghost town of Gilman, Red Cliff, over Tennesee Pass, then into Leadville. The trip is particularly curvy and slow between Minturn and Red Cliff where US 24 has to exit the Eagle River canyon and hug the side of Battle Mountain. North of Tennessee Pass US 24 passes Camp Hale, the historic site where the Army's 10th Mountain Division once trained. Tennessee Pass' two sides have somewhat different characters, with the north side having a curvy alignment and several switchbacks, but the south side being fairly straight. Going up Tennessee Pass US 24 crosses many high-mountain meadows and follows a UPRR railline. On both sides it isn't too much of a vertical change since the bottom of the pass is already so high. The top of Tennessee Pass features a 10th Mountain Division Memorial site.

South of Tennessee Pass US 24 picks up the Tennessee Park valley, then intersects SH 91 and heads south into Leadville. US 24 comes south as Poplar St., turns west on 9th St., south on Harrison St., west on Washington St., then picks up the Arkansas River at Malta. US 24 follows the Arkansas south all the way to Buena Vista on a fairly straight, 65mph alignment. One mile south of downtown Buena Vista US 24 intersects US 285, and turns northeast up 285 northbound.

At Antero Junction (no town) US 285 and US 24 diverge, with 285 heading north toward Denver while 24 goes northeast. US 24 then goes through the crossroads town of Hartsel at SH 9 and takes an almost arrow-straight alignment across the South Park plain, eventually slowing down to climb up and over Wilkerson Pass. The summit of the pass features a Forest Service visitors center which can double as a handy rest stop. After descending the east side of the pass, US 24 speeds through semi-alpine meadows on a 60mph alignment. The towns of Lake George and Florissant are next.

East of Florrisant US 24 climbs up Twin Creek, which as times is a fairly narrow canyon. At the top is Ute Pass, which falls within spitting distance of the west side of the SH 67 intersection at Divide. Only the west side of Ute Pass has any kind of elevation change, heading east from Divide there is no major elevation fall. Also at SH 67 US 24 turns into a five-lane expressway and rolls over the terrain to Woodland Park.

US 24 goes right through the congested central part of Woodland Park on Midland Ave., eventually popping out the east side of town and becoming a divided expressway (the Midland Expressway). It then heads southeast toward metro Colorado Springs, using a fairly steep decent down a canyon for Fountain Creek toward Manitou Springs. Along the way are Crystola, Green Mountain Falls and Cascade.In Manitou Springs, US 24 has a business route, and continues southeast on the Midland Expressway with an interchange in town. From Manitou Springs to I-25, US 24 has a steady string of signals.

In Colorado Springs, US 24 hits I-25 at Exit 141. There, one can continue east under I-25 onto Cimarron St. and into downtown Springs. US 24 goes south on I-25 to Exit 139, then east via the US 24 bypass (Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bypass). The bypass is freeway for two miles from I-25, over Fountain Creek, over railroad tracks, to a signal with Chelton Road. There are interchanges at Union Blvd. and Circle Dr. (SH 29). US 24 then picks up Fountain Blvd. and follows that east. At Powers Blvd. US 24 intersects SH 21 and turns north on Powers, a four-lane divided facility, then at the Platte Ave. interchange turns east.

At SH 94, US 24 curves northeast and begins its journey across the high plains toward Limon. While maps give the impression it's a very straight alignment, it's actually fairly curvy and constantly rising and falling with the rolling terrain. The towns of Peyton, Calhan, Ramah, Simla and Matheson are passed through. Heading westward from Limon, Pikes Peak is visible before even getting to Matheson.

At Limon, US 24 does some pretty wacky stuff. While maps show US 24 going out to I-70 Exit 359 on the west side of town, that is actually defined as a US 24 spur by CDOT (home-made maps available via the Spur 24 link). US 24 goes east through Limon on Main St., concurrent with BL I-70, US 287, US 40, and for a short distance, SH 71.

On the east side of Limon, US 24-287-40/BL 70 hits I-70 at Exit 361, and they cross over to I-70's north side. They go northeast for a short distance, then curve back southeast to I-70 Exit 363. This road is defined solely as US 24 in CDOT sources, but carries the three US routes. At Exit 363, US 40-287 continues southeast, while US 24 ends and has an unmarked multiplex going east along I-70.

US 24 is non-existant from Exit 363 to west of Seibert. US 24 starts up again on the north I-70 frontage road at the CR 12 overpass west of town. It then runs along I-70's north side through Seibert, Stratton, Vona, and Bethune. The road dips up and down with the terrain and barely slows down for each town. In Burlington, US 24 runs onto Rose Avenue and from Lincoln Street to 8th Street it has a short overlap with US 385. At 6th Street on the east side of town (just a block west of Exit 438) US 24 turns northeast off of Rose Avenue, while BL I-70 goes out to Exit 438. US 24 then heads northeast up the I-70 frontage road, with state maintenance ending 1.9mi from the Rose intersection. There is no attempt made by CDOT to ever return US 24 to I-70, even though Kansas immediately starts marking the I-70/US 24 overlap at the border.

Dale Sanderson reports there is a remnant of US 24's heyday just west of the border, near I-70 milepost 444. On the north frontage road, which is old US 24, exists a roadside picnic area, still functioning (as of 2004) with tables and shade trees.

Photo Gallery:

History:
US 24 in Kansas and Colorado was originally part of a US 40 N/S split. In 1936, the N/S split was eliminated, with US 24 taking over US 40N east of Limon, and taking over US 40S from Limon to US 50 in Grand Junction. In 1937, US 6 was run from Denver all the way to Grand Junction and beyond, causing US 24 to end up having a useless multiplex with US 6 from where they intersected out to Grand Junction.

In Colorado Springs, US 24 at first used Colorado Avenue, Cascade Street & Platte Avenue heading east. All of US 24 was paved by 1939. In 1961 an expressway was completed along Platte Avenue east to SH 94. By 1964 west of I-25 the Midland Expressway was completed west to 31st Street. Also in 1960s I-70 started to replace US 24 in places west of Minturn and east of Limon. By 1968 the Midland Expressway was completed from Cascade to west of Manitou Springs. By 1976 the expressway was complete from Cascade to I-25, and the buisness route was present in Manitou Springs, and an interchange was put in at Academy Blvd. The expressway reached Woodland Park by 1977.

The US 6-24 multiplex to Grand Junction existed, at least on maps, up to 1976. But as I-70 started to be built in the 1960s and '70s, US 24 slowly disappeared. According to Karl Williamson, as new sections of I-70 opened the new exit signs would list only US 6 as the frontage road, even though once on the frontage road the highway carried both US 6 and US 24 markers. Also, US 6-24 served as temporary I-70 between each built section. When it went all the way to Grand Junction, US 24 had a length of 466mi in Colorado. To this day there are still examples of street addresses using "Highway 6-24" as the name of the road. The most obvious example is the business-heavy north frontage road between Glenwood Springs and West Glenwood.

Inside of Colorado Springs, US 24 came east into town on Colorado Ave., then to Cascade Ave., and to Platte Ave up until 1965. Then it used Cimmaron Street east to Wasatch then north to Platte and east out of town. The MLK Jr. Bypass east of I-25 Exit 139 was opened in 1995. Before US 24 used Powers to go north from Fountain Blvd. to Platte Ave. it at one time used Academy Blvd. (SH 83), because as of August 2000 there were signs hinting to that.

Related Site: US 24 Endpoints by Dale Sanderson

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Page created 30 May 2005
Last updated 9 March 2014