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CDOT Crews Ready for Statewide Storm - Are You?

February 20, 2015 - Drivers urged to check conditions, get snow tires mounted, take it slow.

STATEWIDE — As the storm moves into the high country later this afternoon, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) crews across the state have prepped vehicles and are scheduled on 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 safely.

“Our crews are set to do their jobs, getting travelers up to the mountains and back home with a variety of information sources, plow escorts, emergency management patrols, traffic management and more,” CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt said. “We are asking for the same level of preparedness from drivers. We cannot stress enough the need for folks to know the conditions, prepare their vehicles with good snow tires and topped up fluids, and drive for the conditions. That means if I-70 is experiencing snow-packed conditions, we’re going to be slowing drivers down so they can get to their destinations safely.”

I-70 WEST MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR - DETAILS & SAFETY REMINDERS

  • CDOT expects 1 to 2 feet and will have 54 plows working the corridor from Golden to Vail

  • Before travel, check tires. Make sure tires are winter ready with at least 1/8” depth tread or have chains

  • A priority for the I-70 corridor is to not have stop-and-go traffic on the inclines leading up to the Eisenhower Tunnel; traffic may be stopped in safe locations accordingly so this can be avoided

  • Expect there could be heavy delays or even closures if necessary up to 2 to 3 hours given weather conditions and traffic volume

  • There will be heavy delays between 6 – 10 a.m. and 12 – 8 p.m.

  • Operation strategies to ensure traveling public safety on I-70 West Mountain Corridor:

o   Ramp metering at eastbound I-70 at Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Loveland as heavy traffic congestion warrants

o   Metering of traffic westbound I-70 at Georgetown or even Idaho Springs

 o  Metering of traffic eastbound on I-70 at mile marker 207

o   Metering at Eisenhower Tunnel

o   Snowplow Escorts both eastbound or westbound during adverse conditions to provide the best road conditions and safe speeds during periods (also employed when backups into Eisenhower Tunnel are most likely)

o   Heavy Tow and Courtesy Patrols in place, as usual

o   CDOT crews working with Colorado State Patrol to quickly manage any incidents or accidents

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE STATE:

In total, CDOT will have up to 684 plows deployed statewide as conditions warrant. Across Colorado, weekend travelers can expect winter driving conditions in both the valleys and mountain areas.

“The intensity of this storm will be marked by bands of moisture dropping as much as two to three inches per hour, for a several-hour period,” said Bhatt. The heaviest amounts of snowfall are expected in the area between Vail Pass south to Monarch Pass on US 50.”

Denver Metro Area/I-70 Mountain Corridor to Tunnel/CDOT Region 1:

  • As many as 106 plows will be out in the metro area and up to 54 plows available for the I-70 mountain corridor.

  • Expect as much as 10-18 inches of accumulation along the Front Range metro area by Monday, and 1-2 feet of snow along the I-70 west mountain corridor.

  • Expect driving to be difficult along mountain corridor. CDOT will deploy Courtesy Patrol vehicles to help motorists along the I-25 corridor as necessary.

Southeast/CDOT Region 2

  • As many as 151 plows will be out, as warranted.

  • Snowfall accumulation in the south/southeast area is expected to range from 7-14 inches.

  • “Our employees will be working around the clock to help keep our highways safe and clear as much as possible,” CDOT Maintenance Superintendent Adam Padilla said. “To ensure our plow drivers can do their job, we need the help of the traveling public to give our plows room and to drive appropriately for conditions.”

  • “The Fairplay area could be a concern if the winds kick up. Visibility can be notoriously bad through South Park when it’s windy and can lead to road closures to maintain public safety,” added Padilla. “But anywhere along the Front Range and I-25 corridor and southeastern plains could be problem areas as well if we get a combination of snow and wind.”

Northwest/CDOT Region 3

  • As many as 192 plows will be available for storm shifts across the region’s two maintenance sections, or for supporting patrols to the east in Region 1, as needed.

  • According to the National Weather Service, the Northwest section of the state will see the majority of snowfall in Gunnison/Pitkin and Eagle County this afternoon and through Saturday. Cooler temperatures are expected, as well as heavy snowfall with this storm.

  • "Our crews are ready to begin snow shifts this afternoon and if we need to shift assets to cover an area of the region that is seeing heavier weather then we will do that," CDOT Region 3 Maintenance Superintendent Mike Goolsby said. "We are staffed up and have enough product to hit this storm head on," he added.

Northwest/CDOT Region 4

  • Up to 184 plows will be available.

  • Along the I-70 corridor east to Kansas is always a concern with blowing snow. Pay attention to local media for any road closures.

Southwest/CDOT Region 5

  • As many as 109 plows will be available for storm shifts across southwest and south-central Colorado (including the San Louis Valley).

  • As much as 6-10 inches are expected in the west and southwest mountains by Monday, with the majority of snow (up to 2 feet) expected on US 50 Monarch Pass. Expect some icing up, as roadways have been warm and wet snow will turn to ice rapidly as temperatures drop.

  • “There is a small possibility we would conduct avalanche control on Wolf Creek Pass,” CDOT Section 7 (Alamosa) Maintenance Superintendent Dave Vialpando said. “It will depend on wind loading of our avalanche slide paths. The same is true for US 50 on Monarch Pass--more snow is expected on Monarch so, depending on winds, we may be doing control work. Travelers should check www.cotrip.org before heading out.”

  • “The avalanche paths on US 550 Molas and Coal Bank passes are bare, as are most on Red Mountain Pass,” CDOT Section 3 (Durango) Maintenance Superintendent Greg Stacy said. If we get upwards of 12 inches on Red Mountain, it is possible we could need to do some avalanche control work, depend on the wind loading. If that happens, only spot closures are expected; motorists should check travel conditions and road closures on www.cotrip.org.”

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 www.CoTrip.org and the CDOT Mobile app.

The public can find winter driving tips online at http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/winter-driving. CoTrip.org and the CDOT Mobile app offer the most up-to-date, accurate road conditions and travel information.

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