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Old 05-29-2013, 08:44 PM
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I have to take a road trip to Denver next Tuesday and am trying to decide which route would be quicker. According to Google Maps, 285 taking 285 knocks about 20 miles off of the trip but time-wise, it takes the same amount of time if I take I-70. I'm leaning towards I-70 because there is more 4-lane highway.

What sayest ye?
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:09 PM
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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You will lose some time in Glenwood Canyon and at the Twin Tunnels due to construction, I'm not sure if there is any construction on 285.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:17 PM
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Not when I went through 10 days ago. But best to check with C-Dot on their website for an update this weekend.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:08 PM
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Wink If in a hurry—and when not

If time is a concern, take I-70.*

As an estimate, it is 5 hours from Montrose to Denver using either US 50 to I-70, or alternatively US 50 (east) and US 285. In theory. In practice it is four-lane road basically all the way to Denver if opting for the I-70 option. Versus mostly two-lane if headed through Gunnison, South Park and so forth. Particularly in the summer with RVs on the road and what not, it is simpler to keep moving at the speed limit if on a four-lane road.

Thus I wouldn't recommend the route via Gunnison unless one not only intends to abide by the speed limit, but drive below it at times in waiting for opportunities to pass. That is a skill which not everyone is comfortable with, and of course must be exercised with caution. Or, in other words, if watching the clock, make it easy on yourself and take the most expedient route.

On the other hand, that two-lane route offers a lot of fine scenery. With less traffic than an interstate—if at times inconveniently a moving road block. The speed limit will vary as well and, again, there is no point doing this if speeding to make up time through all the many slower curves in places even in just getting as far as Blue Mesa Reservoir. But overlook that, enjoy the beauty of the drive, and a pleasant excursion by and large. Just don't count on the seemingly more direct route being any faster.

Besides which, for all the damage it has done to such towns as Silver Plume in more or less bisecting them, I-70 still presents a quite scenic drive through a lot of beautiful country. The greater concern with it—aside from any road construction projects, and in the summer that could be anywhere—would be possibly winter driving, or that between Summit County and Denver in busy periods. But then US 285 from Denver to near Kenosha Pass and South Park can be heavily traveled at times, too.

As an aside, if opting for I-70, one could opt for the 'short-cut' via Paonia and Carbondale to I-70. It really isn't, and technically actually a bit longer time-wise. But one could look at the map and choose to believe they are fine tuning their road warrior skills. In passing through (or at least past) Redstone and down the Crystal River, it would be a nice drive.

Maybe one doesn't have the time or inclination for that. But it does suggest other options. Perhaps on the way back save some time by not doing so, and detour back to Montrose via Kebler Pass and Crested Butte.

* Baring any untimely road construction projects.
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