News

Holiday Weekend means More Traffic

February 12, 2016 - Central/Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - DENVER – Drivers are reminded to expect heavy traffic, especially along Interstate 70 west of Denver, as people head to and from ski resorts and other mountain locations over Presidents Day weekend.

Traffic on I-70 west begins increasing through Friday afternoon, with westbound traffic heavier than normal today and tomorrow.  The heavier than usual traffic pattern continues Sunday and Monday on eastbound I-70, especially from Vail to the Denver area. 

“Drivers should be prepared for safety metering at the tunnel since higher traffic numbers are expected on Sunday and Monday, especially during the late morning and through the afternoon,” said Division of Transportation Systems Management and Operations Director Ryan Rice. “We know it can be frustrating but metering is a safety procedure.”  

Safety metering is implemented when vehicle volumes exceed the capacity of I-70.  When back-ups occur within the tunnel, CDOT stops vehicles from entering, allowing traffic to clear, before releasing more traffic into the tunnel.  With only two lanes, and no pull-outs or shoulders, traffic is not allowed to back-up into the tunnel since crews would not be able to respond in a timely manner to an urgent medical situation, an accident, fire or other emergency. 

Last year’s Presidents Day Weekend vehicle count at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels:

2015

Westbound

Eastbound

Total

Friday, February 12

30,465

16,875

47,340

Saturday, February 13

21,671

17,368

39,039

Sunday, February 14

16,519

22,720

39,239

Monday, February 15

12,246

21,703

33,949

Total

80,901

78,666

159,567

The I-70 Mountain Express Lane, the 13-mile toll lane that runs from Empire Junction (U.S. 40) to Idaho Springs, will be operational during peak travel times this weekend. The lane uses dynamic pricing to keep travel reliable and save motorists an average of 30 minutes. All drivers, including HOV, will pay a toll to use the lane and travelers can save by getting a switchable transponder or ExpressToll sticker at www.expresstoll.com.

Colorado highway information is available at all times on the cotrip.orgwebsite or by calling 511.  If you are driving I-70 west of Denver, CDOT’s Mountain Travel Radio on cotrip.org provides motorists with the most accurate and up-to-date information, special Peak Time deals and mountain event information.  Mountain Travel Radio airs Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons, and holidays.

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