CDOT thanks traveling public for helping to keep state roadways open

October 31, 2019 - Statewide News - Fewer crashes and closures in the I-25 Gap project thanks to motorists

Colorado Department of Transportation would like to send a very important message of “thank you” to the traveling public statewide. Keeping the state roadways clear and open during winter events is a partnership between CDOT and motorists. CDOT plows and treats the road, but the agency relies on motorists to do their part as well. For the latest storm event, CDOT urged motorists to stay off the roads or delay commute times, reduce speed and increase following distance. Motorists did what was asked and the results were evident: The I-25 South Gap project, between Castle Rock and Monument had fewer closures as well as fewer crashes during this week’s three day winter event than there were for the one day storm on October 24. The I-70 Corridor had fewer safety closures during the 3-day storm event than the one day event on October 24.

“CDOT’s maintenance and operations team did an incredible job as Mother Nature threw wave after wave of winter weather our way,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Our crews were able to work more effectively because the public took this storm seriously and heeded important safety information. We’re grateful for this cooperation and hope this spirit can continue in future weather events, so that we can effectively serve the travelling public.”

What CDOT did: In an effort to get advanced notice to the traveling public, CDOT started pre-messaging efforts days before the storm.

  • Variable message signs and banner not only warned motorists of incoming storm, but also traction law and closures were probable.

  • Social media messaging as well as a vigorous campaign with traditional media, urging motorists to be prepared and plan ahead.


  • Messaging helped to decrease traffic volumes between the two storm periods by 17%, which helped Denver metro area maintenance patrols to more effectively plow the roads and keep them in a better condition.

  • Better road conditions and lighter traffic volumes resulted in decreased number of events  

  • In the I-25 South Gap Project area, 22 crashes were reported during the October 24th storm, but only 13 crashes reported during the October 27-30 storm period. Part of this decrease can be contributed to the aggressive messaging as well as lowering the speed limit, which was also aggressively communicated, to ensure drivers were aware of this change. 

  • In the Denver metro area Safety Patrol working during the October 24 storm period handled 11 partial road closures and 1 full closure with an average closure duration of 14 minutes.  For the October 27-30 storm period, when snowfall was heavier and lasted for a much longer duration, the Safety Patrol worked 42 partial closures and 20 full closure events -- but average closure duration dropped to 12 minutes. This indicates that Safety Patrol was better able to respond to the events, allowing quicker clearance. 

  • On the I-70 Corridor, the October 24th storm period had 3 safety closures totaling 2 hours and 36 minutes, while the October 27-30 storm period had 1 safety closure lasting 56 minutes. 

Bottom line, the increased attention to messaging and cooperation of the public allowed more drivers to reschedule their travel times during the heavier storm periods, which contributed to smoother flowing travel. This in turn allowed maintenance patrols to more easily move on their planned cycle routes to keep the roads in a better condition. The agency as a whole, as well as every CDOT plow driver would like to say thank you for partnering with us to keep the state system safe.

CDOT would also like to thank the media statewide. Without their assistance in pushing CDOT’s safety messages out, results would not have been as dramatic. Colorado State Patrol and law enforcement statewide also played a huge role in keeping our roadways as safe as possible in this storm, as well as every other storm. 


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. 


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 interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.