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Colorado Highway/Storm Statewide Preview

January 29, 2014 - Statewide Transportation Plan - Maintenance crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are preparing to go on 12 hour snow shifts in some areas of the state starting at midnight tonight.

The snow shifts will last 24 hours a day until the storm passes, which is expected sometime this weekend. Significant snowfall is expected on the Western Slope and in mountainous regions, as a winter storm warning is in effect for those areas. High winds may also be prevalent across the state, potentially creating low visibility on roadways.

Southwest Colorado: The long-awaited change in weather will bring a significant amount of snow to the southwest mountains beginning late Wednesday evening and continuing into the weekend. Forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center do expect the avalanche hazard to increase by Friday and continue into the weekend; as a result, avalanche mitigation may be necessary, meaning there could be some spot closures on the passes (typically in the mornings). Motorists should also expect high winds, which can mean low visibility.

  • US 550 Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mtn. passes (currently Red Mtn. is fully closed due to rockfall work) - up to 21 inches of snow by Thursday night
  • SH 145 Lizard Head Pass - expect up to 12 inches by Thursday night and as much as 3 feet by late Friday.
  • US 160 Wolf Creek Pass, US 50 Monarch Pass and SH 17 Cumbres/La Manga: up to 16 inches by Thursday night (3 feet possible by late Friday)

Northwest Colorado: The duration of this winter storm has forecasters anticipating from one to three feet of new snow falling throughout the region beginning Thursday evening and is not expected to taper off until Friday evening.

  • Snowfall on Vail Pass (I-70 corridor), Berthoud Pass (US 40), Loveland Pass (US 6) and the Eisenhower Tunnel is expected to be up to 24 inches with snow falling through Friday.
  • McClure Pass (SH 133) and the Grand Mesa (SH 65) are anticipating up to 22 inches of new snow with avalanche mitigation possible on Friday for the Grand Mesa. High winds and blowing snow are also expected to be a factor as this storm pushes through.
  • Rabbit Ears Pass (SH 14) could see up to 30 inches by the end of Thursday.

Central Colorado: Crews have been on snow shift continuously since last Sunday and will continue on full snow shift throughout this storm. CDOT will have two supervisors patrolling the corridor constantly throughout the storm, eight tandem plows out along I-70 and other major highways, two plows along secondary highways, and three plows on US 285. There will be one large tanker out with liquid de-icer on varying highways. Motorists driving through central Colorado should be prepared for white out conditions due to the expected high winds, and poor visibility especially along the I-70 corridor.

Northeast Colorado: Areas in higher elevations, including Boulder, Estes Park, Nederland, and Raymond are expected to receive the most snow through Friday. Cameron Pass is expected to receive the most snow at nearly 20 inches. The central I-25 corridor, including Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley, will likely have high winds and potential white out conditions due to blowing snow. The Eastern Plains are not expected to receive more than three inches of snow, but there will be high winds that could create visibility issues. Roughly four dozen plows will be on snow shift tonight throughout the region.

Throughout the state, icy conditions should be expected due to freezing temperatures and travelers should plan for winter driving conditions. Motorists are advised that bridges, overpasses and ramps will freeze first and should remember “Ice and Snow, Take It Slow.”

Motorists can call 511 or visit www.cotrip.org for current road condition information across the state. To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Information about weekly lane closures will be available at www.coloradodot.info/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html.

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