CO 72 Coal Creek Canyon

CDOT has completed the culvert replacement and roadway work on CO 72 at MP 14 (approximately 1.5 miles west of Plainview Road). The temporary traffic signals that were in place have been removed and traffic has been restored to a two-lane configuration.

Two locations on CO 72 are still under a single-lane, alternating east/westbound traffic configuration, directed by automated signals. These are at MP 16 (approximately 1.5 miles east of Twin Spruce Road) and MP 24 (just east of the Pinecliffe community) while crews replace culverts and make drainage improvements. The configurations will remain in place until December 2019.

Other impacts:

  • Through January 2020: No vehicles wider than 11 feet allowed between MP 12 and MP 24
  • Speed limit reduced to 40 mph in several areas
  • Fines doubled in the work zone
  • Bikes are not allowed in active work zones along CO 72 due to limited road width, uneven road surfaces and traffic shifts.

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Project Facts

  • Cost: $9.55 million (construction)
  • Contractor: M.A. Mortenson
  • Timeline:
    • Construction: Spring 2019 to Fall 2020
  • Location: Along 12 miles of CO 72 between Plainview Road (mile point 12.3) and Pinecliffe (MP 24.6) in Coal Creek Canyon

Crews on this project will repair a 12-mile section of Colorado Highway 72—a stretch heavily damaged by flooding in 2013—and incorporate improvements to make the roadway more resilient and mitigate future damage.

Work will be completed from Plainview Road (mile point 12.3) and Pinecliffe (MP 24.6) in Coal Creek Canyon, a stretch that provides access from the west side of the Denver metro area through Coal Creek Canyon to Nederland.

Specific work includes:

  • widening sections of CO 72;
  • replacing culverts to meet current standards;
  • replacing guardrail; and
  • improving drainage and the road.

Schedule & Travel Impacts

  • 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, subject to change due to weather
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Between Plainview Road—about 1.7 miles west of CO 93 in Jefferson County—and Pinecliffe in Boulder and Gilpin counties
    • In certain locations, CO 72 will be reduced to one-lane, alternating traffic controlled by automated signals and flaggers.
    • Due to narrowing of the road and safety concerns, bicyclists won't be allowed to travel through the work zone.
    • There may be uneven or gravel road surfaces.


This section of CO 72 provides access from the west side of the Denver metro area through Coal Creek Canyon to Nederland. There are a number of private residences and businesses throughout the canyon, directly off the highway.

Intense rain in the mountainous terrain of the Coal Creek watershed carried large amounts of debris and sediment, which inundated the creek, the highway's roadside ditches and drainage structures. The creek's high flows eroded the highway embankments in several places, undermining and washing out the roadway itself.

Additionally, the large amount of debris blocked drainage structures, which caused overtopping floodwaters to damage pavement, ditches and embankments.

Emergency repairs were widespread along the corridor and consisted of large-scale debris removal, repairing and/or replacing damaged drainage structures, excavation and filling of damaged embankments, and removing and replacing asphalt sections.

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