Colorado Highways: SH 83

Return to Routes 80-99
Colo Hwys Home    About

Location: South Front Range > Southeast Metro
Length*: 56.89mi
S End: Jct SH 21/Powers Blvd in northeast Colorado Springs
N End: Jct SH 2 at Leetsdale Dr. and Colorado Blvd. in Denver

Counties: El Paso, Douglas, Arapahoe, Denver
Places: Colorado Springs, Franktown, Parker, Centennial, Foxfield, Aurora, Denver, Glendale

NHS: E-470 northwest to Colorado Blvd. (SH 2)


Roadways Names:

Milepost Guide:

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

SH 83 starts in northeast Colorado Springs at the point where SH 21 (Powers Blvd), the Colorado Springs east beltway, deadends at two T-intersections. The intersection is set up so Powers meets SH 83 at what will be the ramp intersections once the SH 21 freeway is extended further northwest. SH 83 and SH 21 end at each other, but the road SH 83 is on continues southwest, eventually connecting to the InterQuest Pkwy interchange on I-25.

From north of Colorado Springs, SH 83 turns into a rural highway traversing horse pasture. South of Franktown, it skirts the east side of Castlewood Canyon State Park where it crosses Cherry Creek. North of that SH 83 goes through Franktown, a crossroads town at SH 86. North of Franktown at Bayou Gulch Road it becomes a divided four-lane expressway, with continuous aux lanes. South of Parker it becomes known at Parker Road and begins to have Denver-influenced suburbia along it, and serves as one of the southeast metro's major arteries. Parker's contribution to SH 83 is a long commercial strip choked with traffic signals from about Hilltop Road to E-470. North of E-470 Parker Road goes through Centennial and Foxfield, then crosses into Aurora at Arapahoe Road (SH 88). At Quincy Avenue it warps down to a lower-speed urban expressway that will take it through Aurora into Denver.

SH 83's busiest section is between I-225 and Hampden Avenue. CDOT has upgraded the I-225 interchange by putting in new ramps to eliminate one of the traffic signals, and converted the Hampden intersection into a grade-separated interchange that takes on the form of a mutated diamond. An interesting note from Jack Unitt is that from Qunicy to I-225, Parker Road is actually on Corps of Engineers property (which built Cherry Creek Reservoir) and the state only has a lease to operate the highway.

Northwest of I-225, Parker Road passes briefly through an island of unincorporated Arapahoe County, then at Mississippi Avenue crosses into Denver, and slows down to an urban street. At Quebec Street SH 83 changes names from Parker Road to Leetsdale Drive, then passes through the north part of Glendale. Finally SH 83 ends at an intersection with SH 2 at Colorado Boulevard, Leetsdale Drive and Bayaud Avenue.

Photo Gallery:

SH 83 is an original 1920s state highway, but the north end has fluctuated while CDH shuffled things around in Denver in the first half of the 20th Century. Originally SH 83's north end was at Colorado Blvd. and Colfax Ave., and from there went south on Colorado then southeast on Leetsdale. During a period in the late 1940s it went even further up Colorado, ending at Vasquez Blvd. in Commerce City. By 1954, the north end was trimmed back to Colorado/Leetsdale as now.

The south end has been much changed, too. Before I-25 was built, it ended north of Colorado Springs at US 85-87 around present-day I-25 Milepost 153. It started being extended south by 1965 along a street called Maizeland Drive south to Jackson Street. By 1966 Maizeland was renamed to Academy Blvd., which would eventually carry SH 83 south all the way through Colorado Springs. By 1967 it reached south to Airport Road, Hancock Expressway by 1968, I-25 by 1973, "B" Street on the north side of Fort Carson by 1975, and west to SH 115 by 1981. While SH 83 ran along Academy, it included a state-maintained Spur SH 83 that ran from SH 83 along the short section of North Academy to I-25 Exit 150.

In between the Springs and Franktown, a portion of SH 83 was shown as "projected" on state maps until 1950. It was paved from Parker into Denver by 1938, south to Franktown by 1946 and south of Franktown in the 1960s. The expressway north of Parker started to appear by 1990. A major milestone in the I-225/Parker Road reconstruction was reached on February 28, 2002, when the flyover from northbound Parker to southbound I-225 opened. This basically marked the end of the reconstruction that had started back in 1998.

SH 83 through all of Colorado Springs (from SH 115 east and north along Academy, and northeast to SH 21/Powers Blvd) was turned back on October 1, 2007, although it took several months for signage to change. The turnback included Spur SH 83 at I-25 Exit 150. The turnback was part of the massive swap that happend to get Powers Blvd on the state system as SH 21.

Related Site: Old SH 83 Through Cherry Creek State Park by Dale Sanderson


Page created 7 January 2008
Last updated 17 November 2012