8 Stunning Photos Of The Moffat Tunnel Construction Near Denver

Once upon a time, the railroad industry was one of the largest work forces in Colorado. From the Union Pacific to the Rock Island and more, nearly every corner of the state was impacted by the fast-paced business of moving goods and materials back and forth. Needless to say, the Denver area was no exception and welcomed many trains to the area throughout the years (and even today). In order to accommodate these large locomotives, tunnels — like the Moffat Tunnel near Denver — were a necessity and took thousands of hours (and even more manpower) to complete.

Originally developed in 1902 by Denver, Northwestern and Pacific industrialist David Moffat, the Moffat Tunnel was built as a means to provide Denver with a railroad connection to western Colorado via the Continental Divide. Even though it was first proposed at the beginning of the 1900s, it took nearly 30 years to complete, as Southern Colorado legislatures feared that Denver would have a one-up in terms of commerce if the route was built. Once tunnel construction was in full force, there were still obstacles to overcome, including an instance when workers struck a patch of bad rock near the west end of the tunnel, which delayed construction and increased production costs (the tunnel was originally projected to cost $6.62 million, but the final price tag turned out to be a whopping $23,972,843!). The historic tunnel is still open today and is primarily used as a way for the Union Pacific Railroad to transport coal and freight.

Ready to take a look at the production of this important tunnel? Check out these photos from our friends at History Colorado:

For even more nostalgic goodness, check out these 11 Vintage Photos Of Denver’s Streets That Will Take You Back In Time!