News

**STATEWIDE STORM/TRAVEL ADVISORY** Freezing rain and high winds will continue to create challenging commute

January 9, 2017 - Statewide News - Storm forecasted as sustained event.

STATEWIDE—A sustained winter storm is forecasted for the northern and central mountains, and is expected to last through the morning of Friday, Jan. 13. Travel conditions are expected to deteriorate due to heavy and blowing snow with a rain/snow mix that could turn icy—especially on mountain passes.

IMPACTS:

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

Front Range/Metro Denver (Region 1)

The Denver metro area experienced strong wind gusts starting in the north earlier in the day, but as the afternoon has gone on, wind has subsided and moved south. Eastern Colorado is experiencing some wind gusts, but it is not impacting travel.

The I-70 mountain corridor from Morrison to Georgetown is experiencing a mix of weather conditions. From the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial tunnels east to Silver Plume, blowing snow exists as well as icy and slushy road conditions. From Georgetown to Morrison, rain, high gusts of wind and cold temperatures have been reported. Rain is predicted to turn into snow in the next few hours, creating a high risk for icy road conditions. Loveland Pass is closed due to poor weather conditions and avalanche hazards. Crews will conduct avalanche mitigation on Loveland Pass as soon as conditions allow. Later this week, crews will also conduct avalanche mitigation on Berthoud Pass.


Southeast (Region 2)

There is currently a high-profile vehicle restriction from Monument to the New Mexico border. On I-25 alone, there are 16 semi-trucks blown over. Clean up for most of these will happen once the wind subsides. Most of the region is on a high wind advisory until this evening, but winds are expected through Wednesday, Jan. 11.


Northwest (Region 3)

Rain continues to fall from Rifle west to the Utah border on the I-70 corridor. Crews are concerned with the moisture turning to ice on the commute home.

CO 65 on the Grand Mesa is closed due to several natural slides that have occurred. Powderhorn ski area is still accessible. An avalanche mitigation mission is scheduled for the Grand Mesa at daybreak.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) forecasters continue to monitor the avalanche potential on CO 133 McClure Pass.

The westbound lanes of I-70 at Gypsum are open following a fuel tanker crash from earlier today. Eastbound I-70 remains closed at this time. The hazmat clean-up team remains on scene. Eastbound traffic is utilizing the detour in place at Exit 133/Dotsero to the South Frontage Road/Old Colorado Highway 6.


Northeast (Region 4)

Strong winds were present along the I-25 corridor earlier in the day but have since moved south.


Southwest (Region 5)

Lower elevations and valley floors are creating slick driving conditions. There is heavy and significant snowfall on all mountain passes, with high avalanche danger. CDOT has closed the US 550 corridor north of Durango from mile point 53, just north of the Purgatory Ski Resort, to mile point 95, the Town of Ouray.

US 550, North of Durango:

  • Coal Bank and Molas passes are closed due to a triggered avalanche slide near Lime Creek.
  • Red Mountain Pass is closed due to a natural avalanche slide south of the Red Mountain Pass summit.

US 50, Monarch Pass west of Poncha Springs/Salida:

  • Closed for avalanche control operations

Our partners at the Colorado State Patrol share the following tips to keep you safe:

  • If you are involved in a crash, stay in your vehicle and keep your seatbelt buckled, call 911, and wait for CSP, local law enforcement or emergency management professionals to arrive.
  • Many crashes can be avoided if motorists SLOW DOWN, use caution and drive for the conditions. Slowing down allows you the opportunity to react to changing conditions. 
  • Always drive with your view to the front of the hood so you're prepared to react as needed, and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

AVOID A FINE!

Both passenger and commercial motorists should be aware of the state of 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.

CDOT is reminding motorists to consult the department's traveler information tools:

  • Visit www.COtrip.org to view road conditions, travel alerts and track our snowplows.
  • Call 511 anywhere in Colorado for periodically updated road conditions.
  • Sign up for traffic and project alerts.
  • Follow CDOT on Twitter and Facebook (though the latter will not provide the most up-to-date news and conditions).
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