Map showing proposed improvements to us 24 near woodmen road, including road widening to 4 lanes and other enhancements.
Feature Articles

Highway 24 expansion impacts longtime Falcon Food Store

By Marylou Bride

On April 3, the Colorado Department of Transportation hosted an open house on the U.S. Highway 24 improvement project, which involves widening the highway from Garrett Road to Woodmen Road.

Following that open house, CDOT has been meeting with business owners along Highway 24.

On April 22, they met with Jim Ozburn, owner of the Falcon Food Store, which has been a staple in Falcon long before the commercial swell of the 90s. The store has been a consistent and popular stop for commodities like gas, propane, food; along with the RVs that arrive to take advantage of the campground.

The CDOT plans to extend Highway 24 could put the Falcon store in jeopardy.

According to CDOT, the expansion has been increased from four lanes to six to continue accommodating future growth; the project will extend from Garrett to Woodmen roads. A frontage road “concept” is in the plans, which is on the southern portion of the project, and the proposed backage road concept off of Falcon Highway is in the middle portion of the project area.

“They went from four lanes to six lanes; the plans were four lanes and now they are taking gas pumps out from us, power lanes will be moved, buried power lanes will have to be moved,” Ozburn said. “The store will not be usable.”

The plans include a right in, right out but people leaving will have to turn right to Garrett to make a u-turn to head back to Falcon, he said.

“Many people drive out from Colorado Springs for propane,” Ozburn said. “They can’t get to the lane going east so they will have to drive up to Falcon Highway and turn right to Meridian, back to Highway 24,” Ozburn said. “We have semis coming here and gasoline transports; plus, Pepsi and Coke semis — we have big vehicles coming in.”

And those vehicles include motor homes that won’t be able to navigate to the store’s campground. “The amount (of land) they are taking will wipe out at least five of the campsites,” Ozburn said. “We get $8,000 a year for each site.” He said there is no information on how he will be reimbursed for the loss of property. The original plans of  a four-lane highway, from “barbed wire” to “barbed wire,” stated they wouldn’t take anyone’s property, he said. 

“Why do they have to do six lanes?” he asked.

“The plan as it is will not keep us in business — the best thing we can do is work as best as we can to keep us in business,” Ozburn said. 

Editor’s note: The NFH will follow up with CDOT and other business owners affected by the project next month.

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