Larkspur feeling the pain from 'Gap' construction project

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LARKSPUR, Colo. (KKTV) - An entire town is feeling the pain from the gap construction project along I-25.

While most people traveling the interstate only deal with traffic woes for as long as they are in their cars, in Larkspur there's no escaping it.

Matt Krimmer, the town manager of Larkspur, knows how drivers treat his community.

"It’s a convenient bypass."

The main road through Larkspur, Spruce Mountain Road, has long been a common spot to try and get off the interstate if there's a crash, meaning a glut of drivers far exceeding the town's population of roughly 200.

"It slows the traffic up, it’s bumper to bumper when that happens ... it creates a traffic jam for the businesses, can’t get the people coming to the businesses."

The gap project is intended to widen and improve the notorious bottleneck linking Monument and Castle Rock. But in Larkspur, the construction is starting to lock the town solid.

"It has affected our response time," said Larkspur Fire Chief Stuart Mills.

Mills said the build-up of cars in his small town has slowed his team's response time by five to 10 minutes on occasion.

"If it takes us 15 minutes to get to a call that is 6 miles away, that is concerning to us."

It's also hitting business owners, Krimmer said.

"They lose a lot of business because of the bumper to bumper traffic that is in front of their businesses, and the people that happen to be at the business, they have a hard time getting out."

In other words ...

"It’s like a major city street and Larkspur is not a big city," Mills said.

Both men say the pain will be worth it.

"With that extra lane added, even though it's going to be an HOV lane, it think that it will make all of the commuters safer and it will make the first responders safer as well," Mills told 11 News.

"It will be a blessing when all things are done -- at least we hope it will be, assuming people use the toll lanes that are going to be installed," Krimmer said.

In the meantime, the town says they have been in talks with CDOT on how to handle times of extreme traffic, such as the annual Renaissance Festival.