I-70 Mountain Corridor Weekend Travel

March 7, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1, Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - Currently, westbound traffic on I-70 is experiencing icy, snow packed conditions and heavy delays along the I-70 mountain corridor.

This is expected to continue throughout the day and winter weather will continue into tomorrow morning. Motorists traveling westbound along this corridor should anticipate adverse weather, winter driving conditions and heavy traffic today and tomorrow.

Motorists traveling eastbound along this corridor Saturday and Sunday during the afternoon and evening hours should anticipate heavy traffic volumes and delays. Metering and/or Wave Escorts may be implemented along I-70 eastbound prior to the Eisenhower Tunnel to ensure public safety inside the tunnel during peak times.

Adverse weather is not anticipated during eastbound peak travel times this weekend. CDOT would like to remind motorists that during the winter and spring seasons, adverse weather can occur at any time and drivers should anticipate winter driving conditions at all times. CDOT encourages all drivers using this stretch of roadway to be prepared for the possibility of a storm throughout the remainder of the winter and spring season. Motorists should anticipate delays due to heavy traffic and winter weather and are encouraged to prepare their vehicle accordingly. Stocking your vehicle with essentials like water, blankets, windshield wiper fluid, hand warmers and nonperishable food items is highly encouraged. Preparing vehicles prior to a trip and driving according to conditions is essential to winter travel along this corridor to maintain safety and reduce delays.

CDOT is working to ensure the volume of motorists traveling to the mountains are safe and encourage the traveling public to ensure their vehicles are properly equipped for conditions, to drive for winter conditions when appropriate and to anticipate heavy delays when traveling during peak times.

In order to ensure public safety in the Eisenhower Tunnel, CDOT may implement metering prior to the tunnel. Metering is used sparingly in this area to ensure that emergency personnel can access the tunnel during an incident. Should weather conditions require it, CDOT will implement wave escorts further down the mountain at Silverthorne to ensure that eastbound traffic can move steadily up the hill without having to stop and encounter possible traction issues. Wave escorts are designed to keep traffic rolling, resulting in fewer delays on a heavily congested weekend in inclement weather.

The Colorado Department of Transportation cannot allow backups in or around the Eisenhower Tunnel for the safety of the traveling public. With increased traffic numbers, particularly during weekend peak travel times, CDOT is implementing innovative methods of traffic control to ensure traffic flow moves continuously in this area. Wave Escorts is one of these methods. When implemented, motorists should anticipate stops in Silverthorne or Frisco where they will wait for an escort up the mountain by Colorado State Patrol. Troopers will be stationed ready to lead waves of motorists up the mountain and through the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Are you wondering what to talk about this weekend when the I-70 traffic gets bad? Tell people that they have options. They can Change Their Peak Time by taking advantage of actual discounts after 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday, like $2 off daily admission at the Town of Silverthorne Recreation Center, or 10% off all food at the Alpine Restaurant & Bar in Georgetown, or 2 for 1 appetizers at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Breckenridge. More discounts are added regularly, and all of them can be found at www.goI70.com/deals.

While they’re at it, travelers should enter the Peak Time Challenge. It’s easy – just post on Facebook.com/ChangeYourPeakTime a photo of having fun in the mountains, and a couple sentences about what activities were engaged in to avoid peak traffic times of 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. going eastbound on weekends. CDOT and the I-70 Coalition will pick a winner to get a free weekend getaway at Keystone Resort! Peak Time Challenge rules and details can be found on Facebook as well. And if you haven’t heard about him yet, Oleg is our fun but mysterious mascot featured in two videos. Watching this video (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=291809984307011&l=739049929867375764) is the best way to get an answer to the question #WhatWouldOlegDo?.

CDOT’s Change Your Peak Time campaign began this year and works to encourage motorists to skip the mountain return rush between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and choose instead to “Press Play, Avoid Delay” by spending extra time having fun in the mountains rather than spending that time 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.

CDOT continues to develop strategies to address incident response and is implementing plans to prepare this weekend for heavy volume and possible adverse weather conditions.  Among the strategies that CDOT will employ:

•      Expand CDOT’s I-70 West Courtesy Patrol to aid and assist stranded motorists with disabled vehicles

•      Work with stakeholders such as commercial vehicle providers to manage traffic flow on the 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. Live road conditions are available atwww.cotrip.org, downloading the CDOT Mobile app or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coloradodot.