Expect More Traffic Over Holiday Weekend

February 17, 2012 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Winter resorts expecting more business for Presidents’ Day.

DENVER – Drivers are reminded to expect heavy traffic, especially along Interstate 70 west of Denver, as people head out for winter recreation over the Presidents’ Day weekend.

Traffic on I-70 west typically increases on the Friday prior to the three-day weekend, with westbound traffic expected to be heavier than normal today and Saturday, with heavier than normal traffic anticipated on eastbound I-70 Sunday and Monday, especially between Vail and the Denver area.

“Because heavier traffic is expected on eastbound I-70 Sunday and Monday afternoon, people traveling the corridor should be prepared for metering operations at the Eisenhower Tunnel,” says Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Regional Transportation Director Tony DeVito.  “Metering isn’t something we want to do as we know it’s frustrating for drivers caught having to sit and wait for the tunnel to clear.  It’s done strictly for safety.”

CDOT holds or “meters” traffic at the tunnel, for up to 20 minutes, when vehicle volumes exceed the capacity of I-70.  When back-ups occur within the tunnel, CDOT stops vehicles from entering, allowing traffic to clear, before releasing more traffic into the tunnel.  With only two lanes, and no pull-outs or shoulders, traffic is not allowed to back-up into the tunnel since crews would not be able to respond to an urgent medical situation, an accident, fire or other emergency, in a timely manner.

Vehicles counts at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels over last year’s Presidents’ Day Weekend were:





Friday, February 18




Saturday, February 19




Sunday, February 20




Monday, February 21









“CDOT isn’t implementing Rolling Speed Harmonization this weekend, allowing us to evaluate how traffic flows, both when the program is in use and when it isn’t,” added DeVito.  “However, the Colorado State Patrol will be very visible this weekend, and may undertake certain measures to maintain safety, such as doing some limited pacing to slow traffic just east of the tunnel or along other short segments, especially if the chain law is in effect.  They may also manually meter the ramps coming from Loveland Pass and Winter Park so that traffic doesn’t get gridlocked in those areas as well, allowing vehicles to better merge onto I-70.”

Colorado highway information is available at all times on the cotrip.org website or by calling 511.  Updates also are offered via e-mail.  Please visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner.  The link takes you to a list of subscription items.