Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

According to ehuacom, Denver is a city in the United States. It is the capital of the state of Colorado and has a population of 711,000. The agglomeration has 2,973,000 inhabitants (2021). The city is located on the transition from the High Plains to the Rocky Mountains at about 1600 meters altitude.



According to Mcat-test-centers, Denver is located on the edge of the Rocky Mountains at exactly 1 mile above sea level, and is therefore also called the mile high city. The city is centrally located in the state of Colorado and is a great distance from other major cities, such as Kansas City 900 kilometers to the east and Salt Lake City 600 kilometers to the west. However, there are several small towns in the state of Colorado north and south of Denver, such as Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley and Colorado Springs.


Denver is located on the edge of the Rocky Mountains in flat prairie country. The Rocky Mountains rise abruptly from the prairies. The edge of the mountain range is located about 12 miles west of downtown Denver. Denver itself lies in a shallow bowl. The environment consists of dry prairies. There are several small, mostly artificial lakes in the urban area.


Denver owes much of its economic prosperity to its strategic position relative to other parts of the United States. It is an important transport hub, originally railway lines, later also roads, highways and the major airport. Denver Airport is one of the largest in the world in area. Denver is an industrial city, especially in the north there is a lot of industry, around Commerce City. It is mostly light industry, but there is also an oil refinery in Denver. Most industry is logistics-related.

Denver is also a fast-growing urban area, so the construction industry is relatively large. In addition, there is a lot of supplying industry for mining and oil and gas extraction in the Rocky Mountains and the High Plains. The city is important as a starting point for tourism in the Rocky Mountains. It also has a large convention center. Outside of the United States, however, Denver remains a relatively anonymous city.

Urban construction

Denver has a fairly large urban core, as it was a somewhat larger city early on as a railroad hub. In addition to the fairly large downtown area with numerous skyscrapers, Denver also has a number of older dense residential areas on the east side of the center, which are mainly developed along Colfax Avenue. Elsewhere, Denver is a highly suburban city, with detached homes. Housing in Denver is relatively cheap and partly because of this attracts many domestic migrants from both the East Coast and the West Coast.

The urban area measures approximately 60 kilometers from north to south and 50 kilometers from east to west. Denver has grown relatively uniformly in all directions except to the northeast, where there is a large natural park. The metropolitan area has reached the border with the Rocky Mountains on the west side, so the growth in recent years has been mainly on the south side of Denver. Cities traditionally not included in the Denver metropolitan area, such as Boulder and Longmont, are slowly becoming intertwined with the Denver metropolitan area. Since 2000, growth has also been slowly moving towards the east, because there are no natural boundaries here.

In addition to Downtown Denver, an extensive office center has developed in the south of the city along I-25 in Greenwood Village and Centennial, which now has a larger skyline than many European cities. Most industry is located north of downtown, along I-70 and I-270. The nearby town of Boulder is also of interest for the location of the University of Colorado and many federal research centers, particularly those focused on meteorology and geology. Boulder has a strict spatial policy that causes many commuters from outside Boulder to commute to this city. Housing in Boulder is significantly more expensive than elsewhere in the region.

Population growth

Year Denver agglomeration
1950 416,000 568,000
1960 494,000 860,000
1970 515,000 1,111,000
1980 492,000 1,450,000
1990 468,000 1,648,000
2000 555,000 2,148,000
2010 600,000 2,490,000
2020 716,000 2,969,000

Road network

Denver’s highway network.

Denver is a junction of three Interstate Highways, namely Interstate 70 as an east-west route, Interstate 25 as a north-south route, and Interstate 76, which begins in Denver and runs to Julesburg in Nebraska and provides access to I-80. In addition, Interstate 225 and Interstate 270 run through the city. This means that all Interstate Highways of the state of Colorado pass through Denver.

History failed to construct the ring road as Interstate 470, after which it was built under various names from the 1980s, partly State Route 470 on the southwest side, the E-470 toll road in the east and north and the Northwest Parkway to the northwest. In addition, US 36 forms a major highway, the Denver – Boulder Turnpike. Other highways in the metropolitan area are short, such as portions of US 6 and US 285 and State Route 58, all to the west of the metropolitan area. The city of Denver is one of the few in the United States that manages its own highway Peña Boulevard, which leads to the Denver Airport.

The highways in the Denver area are mostly 2×3 lanes, with the exception of much of I-25, which has up to 2×5 lanes in the south of the city. This is also the best developed motorway. Some routes are somewhat substandard, especially I-25 along downtown Denver, which is already quite old. The traffic volumes on the various sections of the ring road are still low, especially on the toll sections. This ring road is mainly built for the future because many new residential areas are planned here.

List of freeways

length first opening last opening max AADT 2012
77 km 1958 1968 252,000
47 km 1964 1977 193,000
40 km 1966 1993 80,000
19 km 1966 1976 131,000
11 km 1968 2002 91,000
14 km ? ? 144,000
24 km 1952 1952 139,000
17 km 197x 197x 69,000
8 km 1971 1974 37,000
44 km 1986 2000 104,000
76 km 1991 2003 37,000


The Freeway Plan for Denver in 1955.

Although Denver was an important city quite early on, it was less important for road traffic, partly because there are no other major cities within a foreseeable distance, so there was little traffic in the region. Before the 1930s, freight transport was still largely by train, partly because Denver is an important rail junction. As early as 1890, the city had a population of over 100,000, making it the first Rocky Mountain city to have such a population, followed by Salt Lake City. The first freeway opened in 1952 and was the Denver – Boulder Turnpike, which would later become part of US 36. This was a toll road and became toll-free in 1967. Beginning in the late 1950s, a wave of new highways followed in the region, which were federally funded through the Interstate Highway program. In 1958, the first section of Interstate 25 opened in the state, near Downtown Denver. In 1963, I-25 was completed through what was then the urban area. In 1968, the last section of the highway between Colorado Springs and Denver opened, connecting the city with towns further south along the Rocky Mountains.

In 1963, the first section of I-70 opened east of Denver, and in 1964, the first sections opened through the metropolitan area. By 1970, I-70 through Denver was mostly completed, except for a missing link east of the city, which was completed in 1977. The city was also accessible from the Rocky Mountains from 1975, when I-70 was completed deep into the mountains. At the same time, Interstate 76 was built, the vast majority of which was opened in 1966. However, for a long time there was a missing link, because it did not connect to I-70. Traffic had to make a detour via I-25. This missing link was only opened up in phases between 1985 and 1993.

In 1964, construction began on I-225, an eastern bypass of Denver, because the suburb of Aurora did not actually exist then. In 1966 the first section opened to the north, then was built southwards and was completed in 1976. I-270 was also opened through industrial north Denver in 1968 and 1970, but like I-76, there was a missing link, forcing traffic to detour via I-76 and I-25 to get onto US 36 to Boulder. come. As a result, these nodes were unnecessarily burdened. This link was not completed until 2002.

In the 1960s, plans were also made to build Interstate 470, which would form a complete ring road approximately 180 kilometers in length around Denver. This was done with foresight, as Denver was still a relatively small conurbation at the time and the then-planned I-470 would be built well outside the city at the time. I-470 never took off as such due to local opposition. Later, the ring road was built, but with different road numbers. State Route 470 was built on the southwest side of Denver between 1986 and 1991. This is toll-free. However, the rest of the ring road is a toll road because there was not enough money from the state of Colorado to build the ring road. The first part of the E-470 opened in 1991, but the rest was built later, between 1998 and 2003. In 2003, the Northwest Parkway also opened. As the outer fringes of the conurbation then began to urbanise, obtaining a right-of-way from this ring road was much more expensive than if it had been built in the 1960s or 1970s, partly due to speculation on land prices. Because it is a toll road, usage fell short of expectations and toll dealers who have a 99-year concession are at risk.

In 2015 and 2016, an express lane opened in both directions on US 36 between Denver and Boulder in two phases. The highway was originally opened in 1952 and at the time had only one connection between Denver and Boulder. Due to the enormous population growth along this corridor, the number of connections had grown to 10. However, the capacity remained the same. It was decided to widen with toll lanes that are free for carpoolers.

Toll roads

In Denver, tolls must be paid on the E-470, the metropolitan ring road. In addition, solo drivers must pay tolls on the two – lane interchange of I-25 between US 36 and Downtown Denver. There are also express lanes on US 36 between Denver and Boulder. The ETC system in Denver is called ‘ExpressToll’.


Denver has several large work locations, so that traffic is spread out a bit. The busiest road is I-25, which has 2×5 lanes. Most highways have enough lanes so that traffic can be handled properly. Structural major delays do not occur, more than 15 minutes delay can already be seen as an exception. In extreme weather conditions, longer delays occur. Congestion occurs mainly on I-225, a highway that serves the large suburb of Aurora, but has only 2×2 lanes. Furthermore, the SR-470 sometimes gets stuck at Highlands Ranch, this is mainly because these suburbs are growing very quickly.

Denver, Colorado