DENVER–Interstate 70 west through the mountains almost didn’t happen; the federal government’s original plan was to terminate the highway coming East at Denver. It’s hard to imagine what Colorado’s ski towns, as well as the Western Slope might look like today had Colorado’s highway engineer during the 1930s, Charlie Davis Vail, not pushed for the massive undertaking of taking the Interstate on through the mountains to the West. Along the way he had both help from, and conflict with, colorful Colorado political figures such as two-time governor Edwin (Big Ed) Johnson.
Colorado historian Tom Noel (aka Dr. Colorado) recently sat down with Complete Colorado Editor-in-chief Mike Krause on the public affairs TV show Devil’s Advocate (airs Friday nights at 8:30 on Colorado Public Television) to talk about his new book on Vail, and his role in seeing the I-70 mountain corridor and passes come to be. That video is below and is well worth the time.