Drivers stuck for hours on Highway 24

Highway 24 Traffic

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - We warned you there would be delays but drivers came to a dead stop on Highway 24 Tuesday night.

Some were even stuck for hours.

Even CDOT tells us the flood mitigation project near Manitou Springs got off to a bumpy start. 

"It normally takes him about 30 minutes total to get up to cascade," said Sean Ferguson. He drives through Ute Pass every day.

Reporter Bonnie Silkman asked, "How long did this one take?"

"A total of two hours, he wasn't a happy camper,"replied Ferguson.  

"I spoke with somebody had been stuck in traffic for two hours," another driver told us.

25,000 cars travel through the canyon every day.

But on the first night of lane closures drivers found themselves stuck for hours.

"We sure hope the worst is behind us. We apologize for any inconveniences This was not as expected, the delays were far more severe than what we expected and anticipated," said Dave Watt with CDOT.

We spoke with Watt to get answers as to why the scheduled closure, got off to such a rocky start.

"We had to stop traffic in each direction to do that final cross over work. That was at 5 o'clock at the end of the day and we also had two accidents in the area. We would of liked to have that done before the morning peak hour but we were not able to do that. The biggest issue is the work being done right at the box culvert," said Watt.  

That's where two accidents and stalled cars were.

"We've heard there were plenty of people that took over an hour to get through the detour," said Watt.

Despite many frustrated drivers, some are keeping the long term goal in mind.

"I know it's for the flood mitigation. They're laying pipes and helping out with that. I think it's worth it, I'll deal with the headache for a month or so. But I know it's bothering some other people quite a bit," said Ferguson.

The detour is now in place.

For the next couple of weeks there will be one lane in each direction on Highway 24.

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