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Does CDOT need geography or arithmetic lessons?

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – September 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Does our Transportation Department need lessons in geography? Or just arithmetic?

Interstate 70 is “a high-mountain road that crosses the Continental Divide twice,” according to Guillermo Vidal, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

This description appeared in the July 26 edition of The Denver Post, and we’re still looking for the second crossing.

We know about the first crossing at the Straight Creek Tunnels between Silver Plume (Eastern Slope) and Silverthorne (Western Slope).

But where’s the second crossing? Perhaps he was thinking of Vail Pass, but it crosses from Blue River drainage to Eagle River drainage, both on the Western Slope. Another I-70 eminence, Floyd Hill, sits between Clear and Brook creeks, both on the Eastern Slope.

Further, Vidal’s article did not mention the I-70 improvement we’d most like to see: a barrier between Central Colorado and the I-70 sacrifice-zone corridor of Summit and Eagle counties.

One interstate does cross the Continental Divide twice, in a way, although it isn’t I-70. Interstate 80, across southern Wyoming, leaves the Eastern Slope just west of Rawlins to enter the Great Divide Basin, and gets to the Western Slope about 60 miles westward near Table Rock.

If it ever rained up there, the Great Divide Basin would be a big lake. As it is, it’s a geographic anomaly, where you don’t cross the Divide from Atlantic to Pacific drainage, but instead cross from Atlantic or Pacific drainage to no drainage at all.