Summer traffic season begins tomorrow

May 23, 2019 -

DENVER—CDOT is reminding drivers to anticipate heavy traffic in many areas of the state over the Memorial Day weekend due to the number of events and social activities taking place with the start of the summer travel season.

All CDOT construction and maintenance projects will be suspended by noon Friday and not resume their regular schedule until Tuesday, May 28.  The only exception is for emergency operations. 

Driving in spring brings its own safety challenges, requiring drivers to be prepared for changing road conditions, including rain, sun glare, wildlife crossing highways and potholes. Being a safe driver means being aware of the possible driving hazards in spring, even as warmer weather leads to increased traffic on our roadways. See safe driving tips and information on CDOT's "Whole System, Whole Safety" below.

Heavier-than-normal-traffic should be anticipated this weekend on the highways along the Front Range and areas to the west. Westbound I-70 is expected to experience additional traffic Friday and Saturday. On Memorial Day, motorists should be prepared for longer drive times along eastbound I-70, especially from Summit County to the Denver area. 

The 2018 traffic numbers at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels:

Westbound Eastbound Total
Friday, May 25 29,874 17,688 47,562
Saturday, May 26 25,889 17,044 42,933
Sunday, May 27 19,579 23,775 43,354
Monday, May 28 15,389 29,208 44,597
Total 87,719 90,732 178,451

Due to heavier-than-normal amounts of snow this winter and spring, the opening of most seasonal roadways will be delayed:

Scheduled to Open Friday, May 24

  • Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant


  • CO 5 – Mount Evans
  • CO 82 over Independence Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen
    Scheduled to open in early June
  • Trail Ridge Road between Estes Park and Grand Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)
  • Kebler Pass in the Crested Butte area
    Scheduled to open late May or early June
  • Cottonwood Pass between Buena Vista and Gunnison County
    Scheduled to open Saturday, June 22

All of these roadways remain open through the summer, weather permitting. For the current status of a seasonal roadway, please check, or call 511.

Be safe; be prepared for spring driving conditions.

  1. Watch for potholes. Winter’s freeze/thaw cycle weather can damage roadways, including the creation of potholes.  Spring rain also can make them difficult to see.  And they can damage your vehicle, requiring expensive repairs. Keep a safe following distance in case the driver in front of you reacts unpredictably. Avoid swerving if you can to avoid a pothole.
  2. Slow down for spring showers. Roads become slick when it first begins to rain because rainwater mixes with road contaminants, like as oil and grease.  Increase your following distance to allow for proper braking.
  3. Watch for pedestrians and bikes. Warmer temperatures mean more people are outside walking or bicycling.  Slow down and pay extra attention at crosswalks and along roadways.
  4. Share the road with motorcycles.  Motorcycles may quickly come in and out of your blind spots due to their speed and size. Always take a second look with more motorcycles out on the road.
  5. Animals are on the move. Animal activity increases during the spring, either due to mating season or because they are waking up from winter hibernation.  Deer are most active at dawn and dusk.
  6. Maintain proper tire air pressure.  Tires lose air due to the cold winter temperatures and now can be underinflated.  Warmer temperatures can cause tires to be overinflated.
  7. Inspect your tires. Adequate tire tread is important for safe driving in wet weather because the tread moves water away from the tire.  Less tread means reduced traction.

Whole System, Whole Safety

To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System, Whole Safety initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behavior, 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 safety conditions for those traveling by all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission: to get everyone home safely.


CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices 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, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state's intermodal mobility options.