DENVER — When 49 cars piled up on Peña Boulevard near 56th Avenue over the weekend, a lot of drivers behind the crash likely found themselves scrambling, trying to figure out an alternate route to Denver International Airport.
During the crash, Aurora Police shut down Peña Boulevard at I-70, which rerouted drivers to Tower Road, reconnecting with Peña closer to the airport.
“There are definitely surface streets that you can take," said Emily Williams, spokeswoman for DIA. "People think about Peña as the main thoroughfare and it definitely is.”
An obvious alternate to Peña is Tower Road. Another is E-470. Both still connect to Peña further down the road.
If you'd prefer to take surface streets, 56th Avenue connects with Jackson Gap Street, which travels north to 75th Avenue and then Peña.
The closure got the Next with Kyle Clark team wondering if the city has plans to expand Peña Boulevard, especially as leaders have proposed building something of an airport city on undeveloped land near DIA.
“We’re looking at ways to improve access to the airport," Williams said, pointing to a master plan which includes an expansion to the road, which is two lanes in each direction most of the way to the airport.
When Denver International Airport was built in 1995, it was expected to 50 million passengers each day, Williams said.
“We saw just over 64 million last year,” she said.
Whenever a road around the airport experiences some kind of delay, airport officials work with airlines, Williams said, but it's up to the airlines to decide whether to delay or cancel flights because of traffic problems around the airport.
There were no major delays or cancellations after the accident on Saturday, Williams said.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story included a quote from Emily Williams claiming Denver International Airport was expecting to see 50,000 passengers a day when it was built in 1995. Williams has since clarified that she meant 50 million passengers.
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