U.S. Highway 36 East - Colorado

U.S. 36 east
The intersection of U.S. 34, U.S. 36, Business U.S. 34, and Colorado 7 in Estes Park. These three routes converge at a single traffic signal to the southeast of downtown Estes Park. In this photo, eastbound U.S. 36 and Business U.S. 34 reach the offramp to southeastbound U.S. 36/Colorado 7. U.S. 36 and Colorado 7 split a short distance south of this intersection. If we continue east through this intersection, the business route ends, and mainline U.S. 34 continues toward Big Thompson Canyon. To the left, U.S. 34 west travels around Estes Park (to the north) on a bypass, then enters Rocky Mountain National Park. To the right, U.S. 36/Colorado 7 follow the Peak to Peak Scenic Highway. Photo taken 08/27/04.
After the U.S. 34 intersection (which has a different road name in each direction: U.S. 36 West/Elkhorn Avenue, U.S. 34 West/Wonderview Avenue, U.S. 36 East/St. Vrain Avenue, U.S. 34 East/Big Thompson Canyon Avenue), U.S. 36 travels southeast toward Lyons and Boulder. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next major intersection along southeastbound U.S. 36 is Colorado 7. Colorado 7 offers an alternative to U.S. 36 between here and Lyons: Colorado 7 travels south to Meeker Park, Allenspark, Ferncliff, and Jamestown. At Jamestown, Colorado 7 turns east toward Lyons, while Colorado 72 begins its southbound journey to Ward and Nederland before turning southeast toward Denver. Photo taken 08/27/04.
At a fork in the road, U.S. 36 and Colorado 7 split. Both routes are signed as eastbound, but U.S. 36 travels southeast and Colorado 7 travels due south initially. U.S. 36 is the more heavily traveled route, while Colorado 7 offers a scenic yet somewhat slower alternative. Photo taken 08/27/04.

After the (first) Colorado 7 junction, eastbound U.S. 36 passes through scenic Estes Valley. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Immediately southeast of the previous vista, U.S. 36 crosses Lake Estes on St. Vrain Avenue. The road follows a filled path over the lake. Photo taken 08/27/04.
U.S. 36 enters the scenic Roosevelt National Forest, which serves the North St. Vrain Canyon. Photos taken 08/27/04.
A tied arch bridge carries a local street over an adjacent waterway in the Roosevelt National Forest. Photo taken 08/27/04.
After departing Roosevelt National Forest, U.S. 36 enters the town of Lyons, home to about 1500 people according to 2005 estimates from the Chamber of Commerce. Here, eastbound U.S. 36 meets westbound Colorado 7. From here, the two routes travel east (left), while Colorado 7 continues straight ahead from this intersection. Use Colorado 7 west to Jamestown or as an alternate route back to Estes Park. Photo taken 08/27/04.
This reassurance shield for U.S. 36 is posted along eastbound Broadway Street (part of a one-way couplet; the westbound direction is via Main Street) in Lyons. The continuation of Colorado 7 is not posted, but it is implied to follow U.S. 36 southeast toward Boulder. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Southeast of Lyons, U.S. 36/Colorado 7 meets Colorado 66. All through traffic on U.S. 36/Colorado 7 must turn south onto Foothills Highway, while traffic aiming for Colorado 66/Ute Highway east should continue straight ahead. Colorado 66 connects to U.S. 287 north of Longmont, Interstate 25 near Mead, and U.S. 85 in Platteville. U.S. 36/Colorado 7 east travel south toward Boulder. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Between Lyons and Boulder, U.S. 36 is silently merged with Colorado 7. Although Colorado 7 is an odd number, it is signed east-west, as it follows an alternate route to U.S. 36 between Estes Park and Lyon and also through Boulder. Colorado 7 then travels east through Lafayette, ending at Interstate 25 Exit 229. Photo taken 08/27/04.
A bit further south, U.S. 36 and Colorado 7 prepare to split. Since both routes are signed east, it is even more confusing because both U.S. 36 and Colorado 7 travel nearly due south into the city of Boulder. U.S. 36 bypasses the city center, following 28th Street, while Colorado 7 travels directly into downtown via Broadway Street. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The most direct route to Denver is via U.S. 36/28th Street southeast, while the best route to downtown Boulder is via Colorado 7/Broadway Street. However, those traveling to eastern Boulder should use U.S. 36 east instead. Photo taken 08/27/04.
This is the first reassurance shield along eastbound U.S. 36 after the Colorado 7 split north of Boulder. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Now at Milepost 33, eastbound U.S. 36 sees more traffic as it approaches the city of Boulder. Even though it was perhaps envisioned as a bypass of downtown Boulder at the time it was constructed, U.S. 36 is today as much a part of Boulder as downtown is, with significant traffic counts, strip mall development, residential development, and numerous traffic signals. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The highway (28th Street) widens from two to four lanes as eastbound U.S. 36 enters the city of Boulder, at an elevation of 5,345 feet. Home to 94,673 people per the 2000 Census (and home to 102,659 people per the city of Boulder, which has disputed the findings of the 2000 Census), the city of Boulder is well-known as home to the University of Colorado. Incorporated in 1871, Boulder was linked to nearby Denver by rail in 1873. Gradually increasing in size throughout the 20th century, Boulder has 25.37 square miles as of 2005, and it continues to grow as more people move to the city. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Continuing south through Boulder, U.S. 36 again intersects Colorado 7 (at the Arapahoe Avenue intersection), and then it begins to transition onto the Denver-Boulder Turnpike (freeway). The Denver-Boulder Turnpike opened to traffic in January 1952 as a four-lane freeway, and it was such a success that the 30-year bonds were paid off early (in 1967). Sections of U.S. 36, especially sections closer to Boulder, still retain evidence of the original 1950s-era construction, including jersey barrier medians and older design standards. Since the turnpike is mileposted in accordance with U.S. 36, we'll refer to each exit by its closest milepost number, even though exits are unnumbered. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The first exit along the U.S. 36 freeway is Exit 37, Baseline Road to Colorado 93. Baseline Road is an east-west street that leads west to the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado 93/Broadway Street, and Boulder Mountain Park (via Flagstaff Road). Colorado 93 is an important alternative route to the western suburbs of Denver, as it connects to U.S. 6 and Colorado 58 at its southern end in Golden. Note the change in the median from a city street to a freeway configuration (including elimination of median lighting and banners). Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along southeastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 39, Table Mesa Drive/South Boulder Road. Although seemingly innocuous, this interchange is major. On southeastbound there is only access to Table Mesa Drive westbound and South Boulder Drive eastbound, but on northwestbound, there is also a connection to Colorado 157, Foothills Parkway (an expressway). Photo taken 08/27/04.
Southeastbound U.S. 36 reaches Exit 39, Table Mesa Drive and South Boulder Road. Use Table Mesa Drive west to Colorado 93/South Broadway Street and the Table Mesa Shopping Center. "Table Mesa" is redundant, since "mesa" in Spanish translates into "table" in English. To the east, South Boulder Road travels into Louisville and Lafayette, where it meets U.S. 287. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Here is a view of the Table Mesa Drive and South Boulder Road interchange. Note the Colorado 157/Foothill Parkway transition ramps in the distance after the overpass. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Most of U.S. 36 between Boulder and Broomfield is surrounded by open space, an increasing rarity on the Denver-Boulder Turnpike. Much development, especially in Westminster and Broomfield, have resulted in a continuous string of developments along the U.S. 36 corridor in Broomfield, Jefferson, and Adams Counties. These same development pressures are pushing on a northwesterly direction on U.S. 36, and it may not be long before this stretch of U.S. 36 southeast of the Table Mesa Drive interchange is similarly developed. One force that may stop development is Boulder County's open space and land use policies, which may differ from those of its neighbors. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 43, McCaslin Boulevard. Use McCaslin Boulevard south to connect to Colorado 170/Marshall Road west to Superior and McCaslin Boulevard north into Louisville. Photo taken 08/27/04.
U.S. 36 enters the City of Louisville. Home to approximately 19,000 residents, the city was incorporated in 1882. At an elevation of 5,530 feet, Louisville is about 7.82 square miles in size. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Eastbound U.S. 36 reaches Exit 43, McCaslin Boulevard. Use McCaslin Boulevard south to Colorado 170/Marshall Road and ultimately a junction with Colorado 128 west of Jefferson County Airport. Note how U.S. 36 still retains its original turnpike characteristics, with the narrow median and limited rights of way. Photo taken 08/27/04.
U.S. 36 starts to gain some urban characteristics, including the first appearance of mileage signs. The next three exits are Exit 44, West Flatiron Circle; Exit 45, StorageTek Drive/Interlocken Loop to the Northwestern Parkway; and Exit 47, U.S. 287 and Colorado 128. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next three exits all serve the city/county of Broomfield, but U.S. 36 is still in Boulder County at this point. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 44, West Flatiron Circle. The exit onto Flatiron Circle is only available on eastbound U.S. 36, and there is no immediate re-entry to eastbound U.S. 36 from this interchange. Use this exit for access to the west side of the Flatiron Crossing. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Prior to the offramp to West Flatiron Circle, this auxiliary sign advises of the connection to the Northwest Parkway via Exit 45, StorageTek Drive/Interlocken Loop northbound. The Northwestern Parkway (Matt Salek), which opened in November 2003, brought a connection from E-470 to Broomfield. This new toll road completes the Denver Beltway (following Colorado 470, E-470, and the Northwest Parkway) with the exception of the missing section between Golden and Broomfield, which is expected to be constructed as a toll road by the state's tolling authority (Colorado Tolling Enterprise) in 2010. Note that the Northwest Parkway is not the same as defunct W-470, which was never built. Visit the 470 Saga (Matt Salek) page for more information on the Denver Beltway Saga and the planned connection between Golden and Broomfield. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Eastbound U.S. 36 reaches Exit 44, West Flatiron Circle in Louisville, just prior to entering the city/county of Broomfield. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 45, Interlocken Loop south to eastern Flatiron Crossings and StorageTek Drive north to the Northwest Parkway and Louisville via 96th Street. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Departing Louisville and Boulder County, eastbound U.S. 36 enters the city and county of Broomfield. Incorporated in 1961 (nearly a decade after the Denver-Boulder Turnpike was built through the future city-county), Broomfield expanded rapidly, taking over portions of four counties: Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, and Weld. In 2001, Broomfield became Colorado's 64th county after a three-year transition period. Today, the city-county includes not just residential areas, but also the Interlocken industrial and business area as well as Flatiron Crossing. Photo taken 08/27/04.
A second roadside sign advises of the connection to Northwest Parkway. Use Northwest Parkway east to Interstate 25, Interstate 76, Denver International Airport, and E-470 south to Castle Rock and Interstate 25 southbound. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Eastbound U.S. 36 reaches Exit 45, StorageTek Drive and Interlocken Loop to Northwest Parkway. When the Northwest Parkway is extended southwest via an alignment approximately located along Indiana Street, Colorado 72, Colorado 93, and U.S. 6 to Golden, a new freeway-to-freeway interchange with U.S. 36 is likely to be constructed. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 47, U.S. 287, Colorado 121, and Colorado 128 to Broomfield and Arvada. Use this exit to southbound Colorado 121/Wadsworth Parkway south to Arvada, Lakewood, and unincorporated Jefferson County. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The turnpike now has three lanes in each way as it passes through the Interlocken/Flatiron area of Broomfield. Incoming ramps from the East Flatiron interchange merge onto U.S. 36 east. Most of the original Denver-Boulder Turnpike has been widened and expanded to the newer configuration seen here. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The right lane becomes exit only for U.S. 287, Colorado 121, and Colorado 128 in Broomfield. Use Colorado 121 north/Colorado 128 east to U.S. 287/112th Street northbound and U.S. 287 south and Colorado 128 east. To the west, follow Colorado 128/120th Avenue to Jefferson County Airport and Colorado 93 near Rocky Flats. Photo taken 08/27/04.
This is the first of two interchanges that connect to U.S. 287 along eastbound U.S. 36; the connection to U.S. 287/Federal Boulevard is still several miles further southeast of here. Here, U.S. 36 east meets U.S. 287, Colorado 121, and Colorado 128 in Broomfield. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 50, 104th Avenue and Church Ranch Boulevard. Use 104th Avenue east to Denver International Airport. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next two exits along eastbound U.S. 36/Denver-Boulder Turnpike are Exit 50, 104th Avenue/Church Ranch Boulevard and Exit 52, Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard. In this vicinity, U.S. 36 leaves Broomfield and enters the city of Westminster in Jefferson County. Incorporated in 1911, Westminster is well known for the Pillar of Fire, a building that was at one time known as Westminster University of Colorado before it was sold to a church. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Construction activity was underway at the time this photo was taken, at the point where eastbound U.S. 36 reaches the offramp for Exit 50, 104th Avenue and Church Ranch Boulevard. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound is Exit 52, Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard, two miles. Use Colorado 95 south to Arvada, Denver, and Lakewood via Sheridan Boulevard. To the north, Sheridan Boulevard continues as a locally maintained route into Westminster. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next three exits along eastbound U.S. 36 are Exit 52, Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard; Exit 54, U.S. 287, Federal Boulevard; and Exit 55, Pecos Street. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Several of the overpasses along U.S. 36 have been reconstructed, with new lattice artwork simulating arches. Compare this design to the older bridges on the turnpike in Boulder County. U.S. 36 east reaches Exit 52, Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard. At Colorado 95, U.S. 36 leaves Jefferson County and enters Adams County, but remains in the city of Westminster. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next exit along eastbound is Exit 54, U.S. 287/Federal Boulevard. This is the second interchange with U.S. 287 along eastbound U.S. 36. U.S. 287 provides the primary local arterial that connects most Front Range cities between Denver and Fort Collins, including Westminster, Broomfield, Lafayette, Longmont, Berthoud, and Loveland. Photo taken 08/27/04.
To Denver International Airport, follow U.S. 36 east to Interstate 270 east to Interstate 70 east to Pena Boulevard east. Another route to the airport is via 104th Avenue (Exit 50). Photo taken 08/27/04.
Eastbound U.S. 36/Denver-Boulder Turnpike reaches Exit 54, U.S. 287/Federal Boulevard. It is only a few miles from here to the eastern end of the U.S. 36 freeway, where it meets Interstate 25. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The ramps to U.S. 287 are governed by a collector-distributor lane. A high-occupancy vehicle lane (reversible) emerges in the center of the U.S. 36 corridor; these lanes offer a direct route from Westminster to downtown Denver. After the U.S. 287 interchange, U.S. 36 leaves the city of Westminster and enters unincorporated Adams County. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The next three exits along eastbound U.S. 36 are Exit 55, Pecos Street; Exit 56A, Colorado 224/Broadway; and Exit 56B, Interstate 25 north/south and Interstate 270 east. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Eastbound U.S. 36 reaches Exit 55, Pecos Street. Pecos Street is a north-south road that parallels U.S. 287 and Interstate 25 between Denver and Sherrelwood. During times of heavy traffic on Interstate 25, it can be a suitable alternative, especially since it connects to Interstate 76 and Interstate 70. Photo taken 08/27/04.
A diagrammatical sign is posted for the conversion of U.S. 36 into Interstate 270. The right two lanes transition to southbound Interstate 25, with a connection to both directions of Interstate 76 (for now, motorists aiming for westbound Interstate 76 must travel south on Interstate 25 then west on Interstate 76, but this movement will be eliminated once a new direct connection is built between Interstate 270 east and Interstate 76 east). Use Interstate 25 south to downtown Denver and to westbound Interstate 70. The left two lanes follow Interstate 270/U.S. 36 east, with a connection to north Interstate 25. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Colorado 224 is a short east-west route that connects Colorado 53 with U.S. 6-85 in Commerce City. Use Exit 56A: Broadway southbound to 70th Avenue eastbound. Photo taken 08/27/04.
U.S. 36 prepares to transition onto Interstate 25 or Interstate 270. According to this diagrammatic sign, the right lanes exit onto southbound Interstate 25/U.S. 87 to Interstate 76, while the left lanes continue east on U.S. 36 and nascent Interstate 270. The first exit (Exit 0) on Interstate 270 eastbound is the transition ramp to Interstate 25/U.S. 87 north. This sign was placed recently (in 2003); note the use of the state name in each Interstate shield. Photo taken 08/27/04.
The final exit along eastbound U.S. 36 is Exit 56A, Junction To Colorado 224/Broadway. After this, U.S. 36 meets Interstate 25 and Interstate 270. Photo taken 08/27/04.
Eastbound U.S. 36 splits between southbound Interstate 25/U.S. 87 (Exit 56B) and eastbound Interstate 270/U.S. 36 to Exit 0, Interstate 25 north. U.S. 36 will continue east, silently merged with Interstate 270 and Interstate 70, until splitting off again at Interstate 70 Exit 316 near Byers. However, the old alignment of U.S. 36-40-287 between Watkins and Byers is marked both as Colorado 36 and U.S. 36. Photo taken 08/27/04.

Page Updated July 5, 2005.

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