CDOT urging drivers to use caution and good snow tires for I-70 travel

December 20, 2014 - Statewide Transportation Plan - Conditions on Sunday expected to deteriorate beginning afternoon.

STATEWIDE — When you pack your skis or snowboard equipment to head to the mountains this weekend, take some time to check your tires as there is a heavy storm expected to hit the corridor beginning Sunday afternoon and continuing to Monday morning.

“Winter conditions will make travelling on the corridor challenging Sunday and Monday.  Snow plow crews are working to maintain the best conditions on the roads, but drivers need to make sure they have adequate snow tires or snow chains and ensure they do not drive too fast for conditions,” Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) I-70 Corridor Operations Manager Patrick Chavez said.  “We are expecting up to 19 inches of snow on Vail Pass by Monday morning.”

As the storm moves Sunday afternoon, CDOT crews across the state have prepped vehicles and are scheduled for round-the-clock storm patrol shifts. For the I-70 mountain corridor (Golden to Dotsero), the incident management team is ready to employ numerous strategies to help motorists travel the interstate slowly and safely. These include ramp management, Snowplow Escorts, quick clearance of traffic incidents, and real-time traveler information through, 511 and CDOT mobile (details, below).

“We have many measures that we implement on the corridor to maintain safe conditions, but a critical component to keeping roads clear is drivers being aware of the conditions and having good tires to handle the roads when they do get slick,” Chavez said.

A key focus for CDOT incident management during I-70 storms is the Eisenhower Tunnel. The tunnel has no shoulders, so when traffic volumes reach a point where back-ups into the tunnel could occur, vehicles must be stopped, or Safety Metering implemented, to allow traffic to clear.

The highest travel delays of the winter occur when heavy traffic congestion necessitates metering at Eisenhower Tunnel. CDOT will use some or all of the following mitigation strategies to reduce back-ups approaching the tunnel:

Increase Ramp Management

  • Meter on ramps to eastbound I-70 at Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne and Loveland to reduce traffic volume moving through Eisenhower Tunnel and reduce eastbound backups from reaching the interior of the tunnel.
  • Conduct Snowplow Escorts from Silverthorne to Herman Gulch during adverse conditions to provide optimal road conditions and safe speeds during periods when backups into Eisenhower Tunnel are most likely.

Stage CDOT Heavy Tow and Courtesy Patrol

  • Stage Heavy Tow and Courtesy Patrol units at locations with identified peak hour crash patterns as well as increase hours of patrol units. This is a free service provided by CDOT to rapidly clear incidents and keep traffic flowing to avoid secondary incidents.

Snowplow Escorts

  • These involve short holds of traffic to allow CDOT snowplows to stage and lead an escort of traffic with Colorado State Patrol up steep mountain passes in adverse conditions. This allows for traffic to travel on freshly treated roads at a safe, controlled speed that helps reduce the occurrence of winter related crashes and vehicle traction issues.

TRAVELER INFORMATION:  I-70 motorists can receive real time traffic information from a live audio stream on Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons during the peak traffic times, available through and the CDOT Mobile app.

The public can find winter driving tips online at and the CDOT Mobile app offer the most up-to-date, accurate road conditions and travel information.