Slow-Moving Storm to Impact Travel Statewide

STATEWIDE/SOUTHWEST COLORADO—A slow-moving storm will impact travel statewide for much of the week. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is warning motorists that winter storm conditions have been forecast through Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017.

The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts heavy snow for the southwest and northern mountains. The possible accumulation of one to two feet of snow has also prompted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) to caution high country motorists of likely snow slide mitigation along mountain pass corridors. The avalanche control work will cause travel delays while operations are taking place and plows clear the roads.

"This will be a lengthy event, lasting more than two days for much of Colorado. Travelers will need to be prepared with adequate snow tires or other traction devices," said Kyle Lester, CDOT's director of highway maintenance. "We also advise commercial vehicle drivers to be equipped with needed tire chains, especially in mountain areas."


Regionally throughout the state, motorists can expect the weather to impact travel.

  • Southwest Colorado
    • San Juan Mountains: One to two feet of snow is expected through Thursday night, with snow ending Friday evening. Avalanche control work and subsequent delays will be likely on most mountain passes.
    • La Garita Mountains: One and half feet of snow possible
    • San Luis Valley: One to three inches of snow possible, with highest accumulations near the valley edges. On Wednesday, Jan. 4, motorists may see blowing snow and gusty winds of up to 30 mph.


Drivers in passenger and commercial vehicles must follow Colorado's traction and chain laws, which are implemented when conditions require them. When either law is in effect, highway signage will be activated. Without proper equipment, motorists can be fined $130. If your vehicle blocks the roadway, you could be fined more than $650.

  • Passenger vehicles:
    • Traction Law (Code 15)—Motorists will need snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M/S) designation, or a four-wheel drive vehicle. All tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.
    • Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16)—Every vehicle on the roadway must have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).
  • Commercial vehicles:
    • Commercial Chain Law (Code 18)—All commercial vehicles must chain up. Code 18 may be implemented any time there is snow covering the pavement on an ascending grade and to minimize road closures.


    Road and weather conditions are available by dialing 511, 303-639-1111, or visiting COtrip. Available on/from the COtrip site are:

    The traveling public may also visit the CDOT website, sign up for GovDelivery alerts, and follow CDOT on Twitter and Facebook. (Note: The latter may not provide the most up-to-date news and conditions.)