The interstate was reopened just before noon, but a crash continued to cause traffic to be diverted, just as stranded travelers made a mad dash to hit the road again.
The scene was hectic as the interstate was reopened at Pueblo Blvd. Hundreds of travelers anxiously waited to get back on the freeway.
“I've been here since 2 a.m. and I’m ready to go again,” said stranded truck driver Robert Chavez.
The wait was almost over, the cones about to be removed. Then a driver who couldn’t see through a muddy windshield crashed right through the barricade, hitting a CDOT truck head-on.
“I saw him coming about 500 feet up the road and he just stayed in that passing lane and came straight at me like there were no cones and no one there,” said CDOT Traffic Supervisor Gary Garcia.
Garcia was outside the vehicle at the time and says it was a good thing he was paying attention.
“I saw him coming at me. I moved to the back of the vehicle and the vehicle hit the back of the wall. That’s what actually saved me, because it would have come right over the top of me,” said Garcia.
By noon cars and trucks were bumper to bumper. Lines stretched from Lake Ave and around the corner to Pueblo Blvd as drivers anxiously waited to get back on the interstate. Slowly but surely they one-by-one made their way back to the open road.
Many of the stranded travelers were like the Johnson family from Texas who were trying to get back home for the holidays. Others were trucks drivers trying to get back to work.
“It’s been a long time. It’s tiring to wait that long, but there is nothing else you can do but wait,” said Chavez who was on his way to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hotels off Pueblo Blvd. were booked by 7 p.m. Monday night, having to turn dozens away. Some people just spent the night in their vehicles.
J.R. Prailey and his wife were nearly home when the roadblock stopped them. They live near Walsenburg but had to bunk up for the night.
“You worry about the water pipes and one thing or another with the cold weather, because you haven’t been in the house for two or three days so all those things come into play. You worry about getting back to your house. No place like home,” said Prailey.
The interstate was closed because of bad road conditions and a lack of lodging and parking south of Colorado City.
CDOT officials want to remind people to be careful while driving this winter. They say always be on the lookout for slowing or stopping traffic. Officials say many accidents are caused during roadblocks because drivers are not watching the road.
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