Travel time to DEN

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by jassen2, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. jassen2

    jassen2 Member

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    To those who have used DEN airport:

    If I need to be at the DEN airport by 6pm (7:30 pm flight) on April 13 (Tuesday), at what time at the latest should I be leaving the academy ? How heavy is the traffic ? Which freeway/roads around Denver should I be using ?

    Thanks.
     
  2. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Thanks for the question - just tagging on since our flight is at 5:50, so we'll need to leave even earlier. When is rush hour exactly? Will we be ahead of it assuming we're there by 4:20 or so? I was hoping to have meet my son at the field house for that 2:30 early bus to COS, although we would just head out and drive to DEN at that time. Is that realistic? Sorry I'm not any help but we're trying to get the same info (same day too!). Thanks!
     
  3. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    From the North gate of the academy is is about 90 minutes. It is a Tuesday, but you still may hit some heavy work traffic unless you take the toll road (E-470, you may still hit some light traffic). I wouldn't leave any later than 4:30 to make it in time (earlier if you are farther south).

    Edit: marciemi, you should be good since it is a Tuesday, rush shouldn't be bad until close to 4.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  4. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    definitely I25 up to E470, the toll road. it'll save you a ton of time. I25 is notorious for traffic.. i'd say leave at 4 to be safe. that'll give you a full 2 hours just in case.
     
  5. AFAMOM08

    AFAMOM08 Member

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    We flew in and out of Denver many times while our son was at the academy. Definitely give yourself 2 hours and take the toll road. If you are returning a car there is a gas station at the airport near the rental car lots (more expensive but very convenient if you are in a hurry). We encountered very long security lines several times, another thing to consider.

    Marciemi, in the past you could drive and park at the field house during orientation, that's where your son's host will drop him off, so you can pick him up there to save time.
     
  6. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Thanks everyone for the help! How does the toll road work? Is it exact change or can you use I-Pass or similar? Or get a ticket and pay at the end? How much would you want to have available?
     
  7. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    You just drive. They have cameras at the toll positions that take pictures of your license. You are sent the bill in the mail. They have an ExpressToll module that you can buy for your car that makes it a bit cheaper, but you have to use it a lot.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  8. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Thanks Brian - I just looked it up online and unfortunately we'll have a rental car. Sounds like my option is to pay $33 for the week (and that's the only time I'd use it). How much difference timewise would it make to take the other option?
     
  9. ccfletch

    ccfletch Member

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    What about snow? We were going to go to Denver but we reconsidered when someone pointed out that there could be snow. We are flying into COS.
     
  10. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    Well, I think the toll road is actually the longer route in miles, but if busy it will take twice as long. I wouldn't go near it close to 4. As for snow, I-25 will the first thing cleared. I have never seen I-25 impassible the entire time I have lived hear, yes slow, but not terrible.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  11. jassen2

    jassen2 Member

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    Thanks for all the info for the Denver trip.

    The reason for my query is I want to join the academy tour on Tuesday which is from 1-4pm and leave with my son afterwards. There is a 5:45pm flight out of COS connecting to a DEN flight at 7:30pm. I think, correct me if I'm wrong here, that we have more time to catch the 7:30 DEN flight than the 5:45 COS flight even when considering the trip and traffic to DEN.

    Another option for me, if it is possible, is to cut my tour time at 3:00 or 3:30pm to leave a little bit early for either COS or DEN. This will be my first time traveling to the area so any helpful tip is very much appreciated.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I live in Cheyenne Wyoming and go to the academy more times than I could ever count. USE THE E-470 toll road. Max cost from where you get on, to where you get off at the airport (Pena Blvd), is about $5. But for what it's worth; ever since they went with the camera toll where they mail you the bill; I HAVE NEVER RECEIVED A BILL. What's it been, over a year now. I'm not complaining. Maybe it's because I have out of state license plates. Who knows. But from the south entrance where I-25 and E-470 come together; around exit 192 or close to that, (Can't miss the sign), it's actually faster using the E-470 toll. The airport is on the north-east side and the toll road is actually faster. And there's little to no traffic. Give yourself an hour and a half. (But to be honest, from the north gate of the academy, I make it in about an hour). Then again, I drive "Western Style". Anyway; I drive the I-25 and the E-470 to and from the academy, at least 3-4 times a month. From the academy, take the E-470. mike.....
     
  13. vullnnoid

    vullnnoid Member

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    The last time we rented a car in Denver (Sep 2009), they told us it was $15 one way to use E470. Plus they said you can't pay manually anymore, we had to buy an EZPass. Therefore, instead of shelling out $30 for the round trip, we took I25. And yes traffic was bad.
     
  14. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    Yes, the rental car added a new spin to the otherwise fairly inexpensive toll road. Over PW we got tagged with a fairly hefty add on to our rental car for it - but since we were heading up to Denver to pick others up, it made sense at the time. I have always taken the toll road - I have heard horror stories of people going the non-toll way and the traffic being horrific. I suppose it depends on how much time you have to get there and how you handle the frustrations inherent in traffic.

    My older D was there this week and brought her toll pass from CA and put it in her rental car and used it. She called the toll pass place to ensure that it would work and it did so she brought it with her. If you have a toll pass from another area of the country it might work for you in CO too - you may want to call and find out.
     
  15. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    It is also possible to just order a Colorado toll transponder for your vehicle, and then transfer it to a rental vehicle if needed. There is no cost for the transponder, and it makes the tolls cheaper when you do use it. We got one when our son was a 4-degree and used it many times. We have used it both when we drove out to COS, and when we flew into DEN and rented a car. If you change vehicles or want to use it in a rental car, you just go online and change the vehicle that the unit is associated with. You can apply for one and have it mailed to your house. The website is www.expresstoll.com. Now that our son has his own vehicle at the Academy, the transponder is in his truck for when he drives to the airport.
     
  16. vullnnoid

    vullnnoid Member

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    Nice. What is the one way toll cost from DEN to COS?
     
  17. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    From the airport entrance to I-25 South it is $8.75 with the transponder and $9.75 without.
     
  18. cadetmom100

    cadetmom100 Member

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    I agree with all the advise about taking the toll road....Hands down it is the only way I will go to the airport, despite the ridiculous fees. I take it frequently during both AM and PM rush hour, and have never encountered any real "stop and go" traffic I promise you would on I-25 (as well as I-225 which takes you over to the aiport, and always seem to be under construction etc). I am not sure how things work with charges to rental cars, but it would be well worth your while.
     
  19. vullnnoid

    vullnnoid Member

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    Apparently the car rental deal is a big rip-off.
     
  20. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I know on the registration it said that if you had to leave USAFA before either 4 or 4:30, NOT to register for the tour. I'm assuming they don't want you in a controlled area somewhere and suddenly having to leave without an escort. I asked if I could do part of the tour (to meet my son at 2:30) and they said no. Just letting you know so that you're not expecting to be able to go and then getting told something else once you arrive. I think it sounds like though if you take the 7:30 flight from Denver that you'd have enough time for the whole tour. I think the earlier flight from COS would be more convenient but would probably result in missing the tour. I'm using the logic that at least I'll get to see most of this over Parents' Weekend.

    That's my thought. My agency lists a $8 charge per day or $32 per week. Somehow i'm guessing that I can't just sign up for the one day I need it, but I guess I'll ask!
     

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