Interstate 70 & U.S. 6-50 east
Welcome to Colorado sign posted next to the Utah state line on I-70. A pull off affords a stopping point for motorists. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Mesa County sign, touting monuments, mesas and memories. Speed limits reduce from 80 to 75 miles per hour as travelers enter the Centennial State. Photo taken 08/10/16.
I-70 makes an S-curve southeastward at around 4,900 feet in elevation beyond the first confirming marker in Colorado. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The unincorporated communities of Mack and Loma represents the first population centers along Interstate 70 since Green River, Utah. Grand Junction follows in 26 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The Colorado welcome center lies 19 miles east of the state line at just off the freeway in the city of Fruita. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 enters Rabbit Valley at Exit 2 in one half mile. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Exit 2 connects the nearby Trail Through Time, a 1.5 mile long loop by the Mygatt-Moore quarry. Excavations at the quarry have unearthed a variety of dinosaur bones.1 Photo taken 08/10/16.
Eastbound I-70 reaches the diamond interchange (Exit 2) with Rabbit Valley Road. Unpaved roads tie in from the north and east at Exit 2. Photo taken 08/10/16.
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Interstate 70 meanders northeast through Rabbit Valley to milepost 5. Photos taken 08/10/16.
Emerging from Rabbit Valley, Mack Mesa and the Salt Creek valley spreads into view. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A wide open view of Interstate 70 east at milepost 6. The Colorado River flows a short distance to the south. Photo taken 08/10/16.
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The community of Mack appears to the east as Interstate 70 lowers around 200 feet in elevation from a nearby bluff. Photos taken 08/10/16.
U.S. 6 splits from Interstate 70 & U.S. 50 at Exit 11 to overtake Old U.S. 6-50 at Mack. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The first independent segment of U.S. 6 east in Colorado, inventoried by CDOT as Route 006A, travels 15.00 miles from Exit 11 to Mack, Loma, Fruita and Exit 26. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 & U.S. 50 east
Interstate 70 angles southeast, parallel to bluffs rising to the north of the Colorado River. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Loma and the adjacent city of Fruita line U.S. 6 (and old U.S. 50) over the next seven miles. The regional service center of Grand Junction is just seven miles further. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A port of entry operates along I-70 east just ahead of the Loma exit. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Colorado 139 commences a 72.07 mile route north to Colorado 64 east of Rangley from I-70 at Exit 15. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Commercial truckers depart the eastbound freeway for the Loma area weigh station just ahead of Exit 15. Photo taken 08/10/16.
SH 139 stems north from the diamond interchange (Exit 15) with I-70 across ranch and agricultural areas to U.S. 6 at Loma. North from there, SH 139 represents a scenic highway through western Garfield County to Douglas Pass and the Canyon Pintado Historic District. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The distance Book Cliffs come into view as I-70 winds eastward. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Travelers on I-70 east see the Colorado River for the first time as the river flows west into Horsethief Canyon. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Denver debuts on eastbound mileage signs in Colorado at 260 miles out. Grand Junction lies ten miles ahead. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 spans the north channel of the Colorado River twice on bridges built in 1970. Photo taken 08/10/16.
SH 340 originates in the city of Fruita just north of upcoming Exit 19. The state highway leads south to connect with Kings View Road west toward the McInnis Canyons National Conversation Area. Photo taken 08/10/16.
SH 340 north ends at parallel U.S. 6 via Aspen Avenue and Coulson Street. U.S. 6 runs along Union Pacific Railroad tracks along the south side of the Fruita street grid.
Prior to construction of I-70, SH 340 followed Maple Street south to a truss bridge across the Colorado River. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The first rest area for Interstate 70 east in Colorado resides off the freeway along SH 340, south of Exit 19. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Colorado National Monument lies south of the Colorado River around Monument Mesa and Monument Canyon. Rim Rock Road stems south from SH 340 to the park area. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Eastbound I-70 & U.S. 50 reach the dumbbell interchange (Exit 19) with Colorado 340 in Fruita. The state highway runs south of the Colorado River to Redlands and Roseville, ending in 13.34 miles at U.S. 50 in Grand Junction. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A south side frontage road accompanies Interstate 70 east through Fruita as the UP Railroad parallels to the north. Motorists reach Grand Junction in six miles and the east suburb of Clifton in 17 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Three interchanges line Interstate 70 east within the city of Grand Junction starting with the business loop in 1.25 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
One mile ahead of the diverging diamond interchange (DDI) with Business Loop I-70 east, U.S. 6 and the split with U.S. 50 east on I-70. The business route travels southeast into Grand Junction, where the routes divide: Business Loop I-70 and U.S. 50 serve Downtown, while U.S. 6 follows North Avenue to Colorado Mesa University. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Within Downtown Grand Junction, U.S. 50 branches to the southeast toward Delta, Montrose and Durango (via U.S. 550); from the U.S. 550 junction in Montrose, U.S. 50 then travels east to Gunnison, Salida, Canon City and Pueblo. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Exit 26 departs Interstate 70 as the freeway spans River Road and the UP Railroad. U.S. 50 combines with U.S. 6 from the north, forming a commercial arterial southeast to Mesa Mall and the Rimrock Marketplace retail area. Business Loop I-70 serves industrial areas along the UP Railroad to the east of the Grand Junction business district, returning to I-70 at Clifton. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Replaced guide signs at the then diamond interchange (Exit 26) for Business Loop I-70 east and U.S. 6-50. A joint project between CDOT and the City of Grand Junction converted the exchange into a DDI by November 2013. Photo taken 10/18/04.
Interstate 70 east
Interstate 70 generally bypasses Grand Junction to the north, straddling or staying just inside the city limits east through milepost 29. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Road 24 crosses paths with I-70 next in one mile at Exit 28. Business Loop I-70 loops back to I-70 in 11 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A dumbbell interchange (Exit 28) joins Interstate 70 with 24 Road north to Appleton and south to Mesa Mall, U.S. 6-50 and Redlands Parkway west to Redlands. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Continuing east, Interstate 70 passes through suburban areas of north Grand Junction to Horizon Drive (Exit 31). U.S. 6 returns to the freeway at Palisade in 14 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Horizon Drive meanders northeast from 26 1/2 Road near St. Marys Hospital as a commercial boulevard to Interstate 70 near Bookcliff Country Club. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) is located northeast of Exit 31 via Horizon Drive. Photo taken 08/10/16.
An array of traveler services and lodging line Horizon Drive within the vicinity of Exit 31. A joint $6.6 million, CDOT and City of Grand Junction project converted the diamond interchange with Horizon Drive into a dumbbell interchange in 2016.2 Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 shifts south around Grand Junction Regional Airport (JCT) to Indian Wash. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Progressing five miles east toward Clifton, I-70 runs along side the Government and Highlane Canal. Denver is now 244 miles away. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Mount Garfield (el. 6,637 feet), East Orchard Mesa and Horse Mountain rise along the eastern horizon. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Business Loop I-70 and Interstate 70 converge at a trumpet interchange (Exit 37) in unincorporated Clifton in one mile. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Exit 37 leads motorists southwest to SH 141 and Grand Junction. SH 141 provides a cutoff from Clifton to U.S. 50 east to Delta.
The original design of Exit 37 was a wye interchange with no eastbound access to Business Loop I-70 west. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Confirming marker for Interstate 70 east posted beyond Business Loop I-70 at Moulton Valley. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The freeway passes just south of the Mount Garfield summit. Agricultural areas spread to the south toward the Colorado River. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Travelers on I-70 east next enter the town of Palisade in six miles. Turning northward from there, Interstate 70 continues another 19 miles to the town of De Beque. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A chain up area lines the eastbound lanes ahead of milepost 39. I-70 is around 4,800 feet above sea level at this point. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Gusty winds are likely as Interstate 70 enters eastern reaches of Grand Valley, south of Mount Lincoln. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Elberta Avenue ties into I-70 from U.S. 6 (8th Street) to the south at a diamond interchange (Exit 42) in one mile. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Elberta Avenue south from Exit 42 to U.S. 6 east was formerly a business loop for Interstate 70 through Palisade. U.S. 6 doubled as the business loop east from the south side of town to Exit 44. Photo taken 08/10/16.
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Interstate 70 hugs the bluff line north of Palisades through a series of S-curves to milepost 44. Photos taken 08/10/16.
Leaving Grand Valley, I-70 spans the Colorado River and merges with U.S. 6 east at a wye interchange (Exit 44 on westbound). Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 & U.S. 6 east
Curving north, Interstate 70 and unsigned U.S. 6 follow the Colorado River to Cameo at Exit 46. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The diamond interchange (Exit 46) at Cameo links with local roads west to a power substation and Coal Canyon. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Reassurance marker for I-70 east posted after Cameo and east of Main Canyon. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The next exit serves the Island Acres section of James M. Robb Colorado River State Park. The park resides just west of the freeway across from Whittaker Flats. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A truck stop is located on the east side of the diamond interchange (Exit 47) for James M. Robb Colorado River State Park. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Cliffs rise to 5,855 feet to the east of Asbury Creek in this scene along Interstate 70 east after milepost 47. Photo taken 08/10/16.
A parking area lies 1.5 miles ahead by Beavertail Mountain. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The Garfield County town of Parachute is 25 miles to the northeast. Denver is now 228 miles away. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Colorado 65 starts a 61.38 mile route to Colorado 92 near Delta at Exit 49 in one mile. Photo taken 08/10/16.
SH 65 turns south from Plateau Valley to reach Powderhorn Ski Area in 19 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Exit 49 leaves I-70 & U.S. 6 east for SH 65 (Grand Mesa Scenic Byway) east to Mesa, Skyway and Grand Mesa National Forest. SH 330 stems east from the highway in ten miles to Molina and Collbran. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Grand Valley Diversion Dam appears along side Interstate 70 just beyond Exit 49. Photo taken 08/10/16.
The forthcoming parking area utilizes a portion of old U.S. 6 along the east banks of the Colorado River. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 makes nearly a 180 degree turn ahead of Beavertail Mountain. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Directly overlaying most of old U.S. 6, Interstate 70 north through De Beque Canyon was completed in 1989. Photo taken 08/10/16.
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The I-70 bridges across the Colorado River at Beavertail Mountain were built in 1985. Photos taken 08/10/16.
The freeway cuts through the sandstone and shale bedrock of Beavertail Mountain through a pair of curved tunnels east of milepost 50.3 Photo taken 08/10/16.
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The Beavertail Tunnels were the first tunnels in the United States to use curved sidewalls. The design previously used in Europe provides a superior structure section and is visually pleasing. The tunnels were bored with a large rotating cutter.3 Photos taken 08/10/16.
Drivers emerge from the Beavertail Tunnel to cross the Colorado River again and merge with the parking area on-ramp (old U.S. 6). Photo taken 08/10/16.
A lengthy exit less stretch ensues as I-70 & U.S. 6 progress northward through De Beque Canyon. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Scene along Interstate 70 east of Roberts Canyon and north of Silvey Flats. Photo taken 08/10/16.
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Curving northwest toward Jackson Canyon along I-70 between Bunkwater Ridge and Long Point. Photos taken 08/10/16.
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Turning north again, I-70 passes by Monument Canyon across from the UP Railroad siding of Akin. Photos taken 08/10/16.
Rock outcrops along Interstate 70 & U.S. 6 east of Track Ridge. Photo taken 08/10/16.
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A roadway separation sees the westbound lanes shift across the Colorado River while the eastbound mainline remains directly over old U.S. 6. Photos taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 exits De Beque Canyon beyond milepost 58. Speed limits increase from 65 to 75 miles per hour at the frontage road system overpass for old U.S. 6. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Frontage roads accompany the freeway north to the diamond interchange (Exit 62) with 45 1/2 Road south and 45 Road north. Photo taken 08/10/16.
De Beque lies just across the Colorado River via 45 Road. Although not acknowledged from Exit 62, U.S. 6 partitions with I-70 here to rejoin its old alignment northeast to Parachute. Inventoried as Route 006M by CDOT, the second independent segment in Colorado from the west totals 26.59 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Interstate 70 east
CDOT recorded 17,000 vehicles per day (vpd) along I-70 leading east from De Beque in 2015. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Parachute, located ten miles ahead, represents the next traveler services along Interstate 70 eastbound. Rifle offers a wider range of options in 27 miles. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Back to back bridges along Interstate 70 take travelers across the Colorado River and its associated channel. U.S. 6 spans the river to the west along a two-span through truss bridge built in 1945.4 Photo taken 08/10/16.
The fifth crossing of the Colorado River along Interstate 70 eastbound. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Advancing east from milepost 64, I-70 and U.S. 6 converge across a low rise mesa. Photo taken 08/10/16.
Samson Mesa rises from the Colorado River valley in this scene east from Interstate 70. Photo taken 08/10/16.
U.S. 6 parallels I-70 to the east to the Garfield County line. Mount Logan (el. 8,402 feet) rises to the north. Photo taken 08/10/16.


 

Sources:

  1. Trail Through Time | Colorado West Outdoors.
  2. I-70 Exit 31 Horizon Drive Roundabouts. CDOT Project web site.
  3. Glenwood Canyon I-70 Final Link - 50th Anniversary of the Interstate System. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
  4. De Beque Bridge, Bridgehunter.com.


Photo Credits:

10/18/04, 08/10/16 by AARoads

Page Updated 03-24-2017.