News & Articles

Clear Creek Canyon/US-6 Closure - Take I-70 to Exit 243!

Feb 16,2018

Dana Laratta

Coming soon, a full closure of U.S. Highway 6 through Clear Creek Canyon is planned for February 20th through April 30th, 2018, completely closing "the canyon" for rockslide mitigation work. You can find complete details on the days and hours of the closures on the announcement on the Colorado Department of Transportation's web site here. If your habit is to take "the canyon," be aware this will be a complete closure of both lanes, requiring an alternate route.

Meanwhile, I-70 and the Central City Parkway have been
clear of construction work for some time.


This $3 million project will include rock-scaling, removal of scaled rock, installation of rock reinforcement, rock anchors, mesh anchors, and 285,000 square feet of wire mesh. Motorists can expect daytime full closures of eastbound and westbound US 6/Clear Creek Canyon, Monday through Thursday, with work hours as follows:
 

  • Monday through Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rock mitigation work cannot be done at night, so all the planned
Canyon closure is during daytime hours.


Clear Creek Canyon has always been a critical connection point between Golden and the towns of Black Hawk and Central City, ever since the original hey day of the Colorado Gold Rush. The Clear Creek Land Conservancy hosts a site surveying the ecology and history of the canyon's use:

"Clear Creek Canyon links the first territorial capital, Golden, with the oldest mining areas in the state, Black Hawk, Central City, Georgetown, and Idaho Springs. The route of the first railroad to penetrate the Rockies lies here too. 

By September of 1871, men were at work blasting grading for the rail bed. By December 1872, the Colorado Central Railroad, the first narrow gauge railroad to penetrate the Rockies, was completed to Black Hawk. Six years later, the line was completed to Central City." 

This 1872 photo shows the rail bed waiting for tracks. Credit: Department of the Interior,
General Land Office. U.S. Geological and Geographic Survey of the Territories. (1874 - 06/30/1879)

 "For over 50 years, a ride on the railroad up Clear Creek Canyon was the most popular one-day excursion in Colorado.  The most famous of the stations along the route was at Beaver Brook.  On a cliff overlooking the track was a dancing and picnicking pavilion, reached by a long staircase. It was a favorite night-out for Denverites. 

The railroad was removed after World War II as construction began on Highway 6.  While most of the railroad bed was covered over by the road alignment, at the bends in the creek where tunnels were constructed, the railroad bed remains largely intact."

This color lithograph depicts the Clear Creek Canyon Line as run by
The Colorado Central Railroad company.


Unfortunately the narrow canyon has always presented challenges for transportation. Back when The Colorado Central Railroad Company fist built the line, they had to use 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge tracks for construction. These days with U.S. Highway 6 as the conduit for traffics, only two lanes are available for traffic for the vast majority of Clear Creek Canyon. This means that when it's time for construction, it's time for closures.

Without mitigation, U.S. 6 could be unexpectedly closed by rockslide again,
as pictured here from overhead in 2005.

Fortunately there's an answer! Ever since its completion in 2004, the Central City Parkway has created a new avenue for reaching the towns of Central City and Black hawk, and the casinos you can find therein, directly from I-70. And once the Idaho Springs interchange construction was completed in 2014, there just one exit number to remember to allow you to reach both Central City and Black Hawk, Exit 243!

Exit 243 takes you to the Central City Parkway, with four wide lanes
and a fantastic view while you drive!

 

In fact, if you want an easy-to-remember, reliable way to know how to reach all the Colorado Casinos in both Central City and Black Hawk, that's the simple phrase you should remember! "I-70 to Exit 243" is all you need!

Try a new route via I-70 to Exit 243 to Denver's Best Casino, Century Casino, while Clear Creek Canyon is closed for traffic. Let the easy-to-remember route, and the destination of Denver's Best Casino, become your new favorites!

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