I-25 closure for Dem Convention may be longer than expected
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado ” A planned reception at Invesco Field at Mile High after Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech has raised doubts about when Interstate 25 will reopen.
On Tuesday, Denver Public Works Manager Bill Vidal told City Council members during a briefing on the Democratic National Convention that the closure of I-25 would start at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 28 and that he expected the interstate to reopen at midnight, assuming the event at Invesco ended at 10 p.m.
But in an e-mail that Vidal wrote to Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown this morning, Vidal said he didn’t know about the after-speech reception.
“This is a new one on me,” Vidal wrote.
At Tuesday’s DNC briefing, Vidal was “simply giving an example of what might happen and what our hopes and expectations are regarding” the reopening of I-25, public works spokeswoman Ann Williams said today.
“We certainly do expect that we will be able to open the highway as soon as possible after the event,” Williams said.
“However, CDOT will take direction on reopening the highway from the Secret Service. For safety and security reasons, the decision to reopen the highway is ultimately up to the Secret Service,” she said.
Ron Perea, special agent in charge of the Denver Secret Service office, said the time that I-25 will reopen is unknown.
“It depends on when the DNC finalizes their plan if there’s going to be an after-hours reception,” he said. “I’m meeting with them this afternoon.”
Campaign officials said Obama’s post-speech schedule has not been finalized.
During his weekly meeting with council members Tuesday, Mayor John Hickenlooper said closing a 5.5-mile stretch of the busiest highway in the Rocky Mountain West was going to be “an inconvenience for a few hours.”
“It’s going to be a pain in the neck for some people, and I sincerely and honestly regret that,” he said. “I lobbied as hard as I could for the length of time that it needed to be closed.”
Brown said it’s one thing to close the interstate for Obama’s historic acceptance speech but another to keep it closed for a private reception.
“He’s not president yet,” Brown said. “He’s not the only game in town.”