Heavy Traffic Expected on I-70 Mountain Corridor

February 7, 2014 - Statewide Transportation Plan - Motorists Encouraged to Change Their Peak Times to Avoid Delays on I-70.

Statewide – Heavy traffic volumes are expected along westbound I-70 Friday throughout the day, Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Travelers should anticipate heavy traffic on eastbound I-70 Saturday and Sunday afternoons and into the evening. Historically, this weekend sees higher traffic counts and longer than average travel times. This weekend last year, travelers saw close to 200 minute travel times during peak hours on Sunday from Frisco to C-470, the average travel time for that stretch is 60 minutes. The Eisenhower Tunnel saw over 2500 vehicles an hour travel eastbound for those peak times on Sunday, February 10, 2013. For those traveling to I-70 from connecting roads, delays are also expected. Travelers are encouraged to visit www.cotrip.org or call 511 for real time traffic updates.

The I-70 mountain corridor is currently experiencing adverse winter weather in many places. This weather pattern is expected to continue throughout the weekend with various snow accumulations expected in most areas as well as blowing snow and below freezing temperatures. CDOT is on full snow shift at this time along the I-70 mountain corridor and will continue on full snow shift throughout the weekend until the roads are clear of snow and ice. CDOT plows work continuously 24 hours a day, working hard to clear the roadways and assist travelers in getting to their destinations safely. Motorists traveling behind snow plows should remain a minimum of five car lengths behind the plow. Snow plows have limited visibility and often cannot see vehicles traveling too closely behind them. When plows are removing snow and ice from the roadways, whiteout conditions can occur for vehicles traveling too close to the plow. Allow plows to work at a safe distance from vehicles traveling on the roadways and use extreme caution when passing snow plows. Snow plow operators are maintaining the roads for the safety of the traveling public and their main objective is to remove snow and ice from the roadways to ensure vehicles can arrive safely at their destinations. CDOT encourages vehicles to drive according to the weather conditions, to reduce speeds during adverse winter weather and to give snow plows room to work effectively along the corridor.

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.

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. 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. Preparing vehicles prior to a trip and driving according to conditions is essential to winter travel along this corridor.

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.