Grand Junction slows it down on I-70

If you’re headed to Grand Junction for appointments or activities, be aware that the speed limit on Interstate 70 has been reduced from 75 mph to 70 mph near the city’s exits. The change was recently approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

It was no April fools event when CDOT officials changed the speed limit signs both directions between I-70 mile markers 24.93 and 32.25, or roughly 22 Road to east of the Horizon Drive exit, in Grand Junction. The more than seven-mile stretch of interstate that’s been slowed down spans three major local exits, at Horizon Drive, at 24 Road and at U.S. Highway 6&50, according to a story in the Daily Sentinel.

“We do have accident history through that entire area. It’s an area that’s becoming more and more urban, and those interchanges are becoming more and more busy,” said Trent Prall, public works director for the city of Grand Junction.

The new speed limit reduction is the culmination of a city effort that dates to the fall of 2017, when there were multiple fatal accidents on the sharp westbound curve approaching the Horizon Drive area.

The safety needs extend to emergency agencies that respond to crashes and other incidents on the interstate. In one of the fall 2017 fatal crashes near Horizon Drive, a Grand Junction police vehicle was struck. “Part of the reason we were pushing CDOT so hard for it was, it was not only about safety for our traveling public through the corridor, but also the safety of our first responders,” Prall said.

The Horizon Drive Business Improvement District also pushed to slow things down. Aside from signage changes, speed radar units that illuminate “Your Speed Is” warnings will be installed by the city in the coming weeks.

Speed radar signs will be erected in the westbound lanes approaching the Horizon Drive elbow, and eastbound near the diverging diamond exit at Highway 6&50.