Interstate 25 reopened Thursday afternoon, freeing hundreds of semitrucks and other vehicles trapped by a blizzard that shut down the highway for more than 24 hours while crews cleared crashes, moved abandoned vehicles and rescued drivers stranded overnight.

Truckers and other travelers were lined up on northbound I-25 for miles near Monument — three abreast and stretching as far as the eye could see — until the Colorado Department of Transportation announced about 2:50 p.m. that the last remaining safety closure, which barred drivers from the highway between Baptist Road and Plum Creek Parkway, had been lifted.

"Great news! Truckers, start your engines!" Colorado Springs police tweeted.

The storm, known as a bomb cyclone, pummeled the Pikes Peak region Wednesday with hurricane-force winds and swirling snow that reduced visibility to inches, surprising many who hoped to reach their destinations before roads became impassable. Thousands were caught in whiteout when the blizzard intensified much quicker than anyone had predicted.

Colorado Springs blizzard: By the numbers

Among them was Cade and Mary Coldren, who were heading from their home in Lubbock, Texas, to Fort Collins to visit their children, who attend Colorado State University. The trip typically takes about 10 hours. This time, it took three days, with one night spent on cots in a warming shelter in Monument.

"It was faster than the forecast, was the problem," Cade said. "Because, you know, you could look at the forecast and you could say, 'Well, I think we've got time,' and then, boom, it was there."

In hindsight, Cade said, they should have followed their daughter's advice to drive straight through Tuesday. But they stayed the night at an AirBnb in Raton, N.M., and thought they could make it to Fort Collins before the storm hit.

They were wrong.

"By the time we got to Monument, I could barely see the car in front of me on the interstate," Cade said. Their car got stuck on ice on the off-ramp at mile marker 161, but they pushed it out with the help of a passerby and their windshield ice-scrapers.

Just off of the highway, they got stuck again.

After two hours, a man and his two teenage kids passed by and offered to help push the car into a nearby bank parking lot. The helpful strangers drove the Coldrens to the shelter at St. Peter Catholic Church, 55 Jefferson St.

The shelter didn't have enough cots for everyone — about 150 people showed up, Cade said — so late arrivals unrolled wrestling mats from the gym to sleep on.

"They ran out of blankets for us, and then power kept coming and going, and it got cold," he said. "I've had better nights' sleep."

An estimated 1,100 drivers were stranded across El Paso County on Wednesday with hundreds more trapped along I-25, leading Gov. Jared Polis to declare a state of emergency and activate the Colorado National Guard.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby said crews were able to make "significant progress, even in the dark." By late Thursday morning, about 250 stranded vehicles still needed to be checked along U.S. 24 and Colorado 94, she said.

About 50 soldiers and airmen with the Colorado National Guard assisted emergency crews throughout the state in checking on stranded vehicles. Late Thursday afternoon, the Guard tweeted, "After checking 291 vehicles, the number of rescues remains at 93 people and two dogs!"

Travel by car and plane was sharply curtailed most of Wednesday and Thursday morning, with most major highways shut down and dozens of flights at Colorado Springs Airport canceled. Denver International Airport canceled more than 1,000 flights.