News

HOLIDAY TRAVEL INFO - Motorists: give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination

December 20, 2019 - I-70 Mountain Corridor holiday travel survival guide and other statewide info

 

The Colorado Department of Transportation reminds drivers to expect heavier than normal traffic in many areas across the state for the next couple of weeks as people travel for the holidays. 

To ease travel delays over the holiday season, most CDOT construction projects will suspend lane closures. Work may take place behind barriers.  

WEATHER OUTLOOK

CDOT never sleeps, even during the holidays! Colorado may see winter weather conditions next week, particularly in mountainous high country regions. Maintenance operators will continue to work in shifts to provide 24/7 service to monitor roadways and keep them as safe as possible for holiday travelers.  

Holiday travelers should stay informed about potential developing storms. CDOT also urges the public to visit COtrip.org, which offers current road conditions and alerts. Please note that COtrip.org is the official and ONLY website maintained by CDOT. The site is mobile friendly and converts to display on all devices. CDOT does not administer or maintain any mobile applications.

I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR TRAFFIC VOLUMES 

Traffic on Interstate 70 west from Denver is expected to be heavy on Christmas Eve, and the days following Christmas. Christmas week, not including Christmas Day, is one of the higher travel periods in Colorado. Here is a look at last year’s vehicle counts at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels:

2018

Westbound

Eastbound

Total

Thursday, December 20

21,726

17,813

39,539

Friday, December 21

28,252

20,285

48,537

Saturday, December 22

24,842

18,429

43,271

Sunday, December 23

23,650

21,996

45,646

Monday, December 24

14,682

15,728

30,410

Tuesday, December 25

16,321

16,103

32,424

Wednesday, December 26

25,500

20,722

46,222

Total

154,973

131,076

286,049

BEWARE OF SUN GLARE ON EASTBOUND I-70 AT FLOYD HILL

Morning safety closures due to sun glare can occur on eastbound I-70 at Floyd Hill from November through February. The sun’s angle, in combination with the grade of the hill and the highway’s configuration, can create a blinding sun glare for drivers as they head eastbound up Floyd Hill (mile 244 to 248 – east of Idaho Springs). The intense sun glare begins as far east as Genesee at sunrise and lasts until around 8:30 a.m. Closures could occur during the next two weeks.

CDOT provides advance notification of the potential hazard with messages on its electronic sign boards prior to Floyd Hill, alerting motorists of the sun glare and to anticipate slower speeds. Drivers who travel eastbound I-70 in the early morning hours this winter are urged to pay attention to the message boards beginning just east of the Eisenhower -Johnson Memorial Tunnels. Avoid eastbound travel on Floyd Hill, if possible, between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

TRAVEL TIPS ON THE I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR AND MOUNTAIN PASSES

  • The leading causes of crashes are speed, distractions and driving under the influence.  Please drive the speed limit and slow down for slick roads, drop the distractions, drive sober and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. It’s also important to leave a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead. 

  • Mountain driving requires extra caution. Be extra vigilant and pay attention to the signs that warn of sharp curves and steep inclines.

  • Weather can change drastically in the mountains. Always be prepared for fast moving storms. Know before you go by monitoring weather information and visit COtrip.org for the latest road conditions.

  • Be prepared for possible road closures in the event of bad weather or other emergencies with a survival kit in your vehicle to include an ice scraper, snow shovel, flashlight, sleeping bag, extra set of clothes, plenty of water, non perishable food, a first aid kit and jumper cables. 

  • Drive for the weather conditions and make sure you have the appropriate winter tires or all weather tires with 3/16” tread, or carry an alternative traction device such as chains or an autosock. 

  • The Move Over law requires drivers approaching emergency vehicles stopped in the shoulder or along the road to move a lane over if safe to do so, or slow down. 

  • CDOT resources include:

USING THE EASTBOUND MOUNTAIN EXPRESS LANE

The eastbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane is a great option for motorists who want to avoid traffic and save time going back to Denver on I-70. Motorists can take the Express Lane in exchange for a toll, but they always have the free option of using the regular lanes. The Express Lane is 13 miles long and is located between Empire Junction and Idaho Springs on eastbound I-70. It is a peak period shoulder lane, which means it is used as a lane during the busiest travel times. Other times the lane is used as a shoulder for emergency breakdowns or crashes. Overhead signs indicate when the Express Lane is open or closed.  

The Express Lane will be available everyday through the holidays from Saturday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 1 and will open on weekends as scheduled following the first of the year. Availability of the Express Lane may be impacted should there be incidents on the roadway. 

Tolls are collected electronically via license plate reading. The most cost efficient way to use the lanes is to have a toll pass.  To get a pass visit expresstoll.com

SNOWSTANG

As an alternative to driving in the mountains on the weekends and for greater peace of mind, motorists can take advantage of CDOT’s recently introduced Snowstang, which began operations this December. Snowstang  provides Saturday and Sunday roundtrip bus service between Denver and the Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin, Steamboat Resort, and Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs. 

For all three lines, passengers can board at Denver Union Station or the Denver Federal Center. Roundtrip tickets for Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin start at $25. A roundtrip to Steamboat Springs (Steamboat Resort and Howelsen Hill) is $40.00. Additional discounts will be available for seniors and children. To purchase tickets, visit www.ridebustang.com.

Click here to see our Winter Wise Driving Tips Flyer

 

WHOLE SYSTEM. WHOLE SAFETY.  

In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System. Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission – to get everyone home safely.

 

ABOUT CDOT  

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s multimodal mobility options.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal