Historically Heavy Travel Weekend Likely to Repeat on I-70

January 23, 2014 - Statewide Transportation Plan - Mountain Resorts Drawing Crowds With Big Events This Weekend, Heavy Traffic Expected

Statewide – The weekend prior to the Super Bowl is generally one of the busiest weekends for the I-70 mountain corridor. In 2013, this weekend saw a total of 115,634 cars drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel. Heavy traffic counts are expected westbound for Friday evening and both Saturday and Sunday mornings. High eastbound traffic counts are anticipated Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evenings. Many resorts are holding crowd drawing events this weekend; combined with a weather forecast calling for sun and the recent heavy snowfalls, motorists should anticipate delays when traveling the corridor in both directions throughout the weekend.

Friday, January 25, 2013 had a total of 36,877 vehicles traveling through Eisenhower Tunnel. Saturday, January 26, 2013 had 20,836 vehicles traveling westbound and 17,416 headed eastbound. Sunday, January 27, 2013 saw 40,505 vehicles move through the tunnel. Average travel time headed eastbound on I-70 from Frisco to Denver is 60 minutes. In 2013, the average travel time along this stretch of road was 140 minutes for Sunday, January 27 during peak travel times. The previous year the average travel time for on that day was 158 minutes.  Although winter weather is not anticipated over this coming weekend, traffic volume is likely to cause major delays in this corridor especially during peak times headed eastbound from 1-7.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to encourage mountain visitors to “Change Your Peak Time” when traveling back to Denver, by skipping the rush between 1p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Instead travelers can “Press Play, Avoid Delay” by spending an extra hour having fun in the mountains instead of spending an extra hour in peak traffic. CDOT has partnered with the I-70 Coalition, a consortium representing the mountain communities and resorts, to give travel tips and travel forecasts, and to offer discounts, deals and incentives for travelers interested in avoiding traffic by staying in the mountains for an extra hour or two. Peak Time Deals at www.goi70.com are updated regularly, and list locations of restaurants, entertainment options and retailers along the I-70 corridor offering weekend discounts. In addition to deals offered near resorts, Idaho Springs and Georgetown also offer incentives for travelers who want to leave early to beat the peak traffic, or who have already hit the road but would like to take a break from traffic on their way home. We encourage motorists to take advantage of these offers and to change their travel times in order to take advantage of all that our mountain towns have to offer.

Although winter weather is not expected along the I-70 mountain corridor this weekend, CDOT encourages all drivers using this stretch of roadway to be prepared for the possibility of a storm. Stocking your vehicle with essentials like water, blankets, windshield wiper fluid, hand warmers and nonperishable food items is highly encouraged. Various options for vehicle preparedness is encouraged along I-70, including but not limited to, four-wheel drive during appropriate conditions and snow socks for passenger vehicles. Heavy traffic and winter driving conditions as well as vehicles unable to maneuver through icy and snow packed conditions all aide in delays along this corridor in the winter.

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. Updated road conditions are available at www.cotrip.org or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state. Download our CDOT mobile app for more information, road conditions and project updates. Up to date information is also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page www.facebook.com/coloradodot.