by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG– Initial plans had called for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to be finished with work on the southbound lanes of I-25 before the July 4th weekend. That is not going to happen. According to CDOT representatives, the concrete needs more time to cure. That means that southbound I-25 traffic will continue to detour through downtown Walsenburg during the 4th of July weekend. Traffic through Walsenburg could be heavy tonight and certainly on Friday. You can expect delays.
Restaurants and motels are hoping to benefit this holiday weekend after suffering losses on Memorial Day weekend due to the gas line break that prevented restaurants from cooking and motels being unable to offer hot water. Lots of potential business was lost.
Gas stations, restaurants and some motels along the detour route through Walsenburg have benefited by having extra business during the summer. Other retail establishments have seen little to moderate success from the tourist traffic.
CDOT is now looking to complete the southbound work on I-25 on or around July 15th. Work will then begin on northbound I-25 and should conclude prior to Labor Day weekend.
I-25 tourists and travelers have commented to business owners and employees that they were unaware that there was a downtown to Walsenburg. That may bode well for the city in the future when people can come through on their own accord versus having their trip slowed by detours along their main route.