News

July Fourth Traditional Start of High Traffic Season

July 1, 2020 - Denver Metro Area - Social Distancing and Mask wearing still essential for a safe Holiday

The Colorado Department of Transportation is expecting a significant increase in traffic on the state’s highways as people travel in higher numbers over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. Independence Day traditionally marks the start of the high traffic season, with summer tourism hitting its peak over the next six to seven weeks. CDOT is asking drivers to engage in safe driving practices and be prepared to practice important health precautions. In addition to the safe driving tips included below, travelers should follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks at their destinations and at any stops along the way. 

"The Fourth of July is a moment when, together, we celebrate our country. While everyone is eager to get out and celebrate over the holiday weekend -- especially this year -- we have a duty to keep ourselves and each other safe at the same time," said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. "We tend to see more impaired driving around summer holidays like the one coming up, and this year it is imperative that we all do our part to end that dangerous trend. The simple things we do to stay safe--wearing masks, social distancing, or getting a sober ride--are the fine margin between a fun holiday and a preventable disaster."

All CDOT construction and maintenance projects will be suspended beginning Thursday to help minimize traffic impacts. Projects will not be permitted to resume work until, at the earliest, Monday, July 6.  The only exception is for emergency operations. 

During a typical Fourth of July holiday, the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels handles a significant amount of traffic, such as 2019: 

Westbound

Eastbound

Total

Wednesday, July 3

32,595

17,329

49,924

Thursday, July 4

23,761

16,204

39,965

Friday, July 5

24,214

25, 214

49,428

Saturday, July 6

21,143

33,030

54,173

Sunday, July 7

20,527

31,093

51,620

Total

122,240

122,870

245,110

 

Drivers can get the latest information on the status of the state’s roadways by checking www.cotrip.org or by calling 511.  Specific information regarding Interstate 70 is available at: www.GoI70.com.  

Independence Pass (CO 82) between Aspen and Twin Lakes is open for the season.  However, the Mount Evans Highway (CO 5) is closed to motorized vehicles this summer due to issues associated with COVID-19. 

For more information on Governor Polis’ Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors directive. please see: https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home.

BE SAFE – BE PREPARED - FOR SUMMER DRIVING 

  1. Stay Alert. Plan enough time to stop along the way to stretch, get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, and change drivers if you’re feeling tired or drowsy.
  2. Avoid Distracted DrivingThe focus always should be on driving.  Avoid using cellphones, texting, eating, and using in-vehicle technologies.
  3. Don't drive impaired.  Increased DUI enforcement from July 2 to July 6. 
  4. Watch for more pedestrians and bikes.Warm temperatures mean more people are outside walking or bicycling.  Slow down and pay extra attention at crosswalks and along roadways.
  5. Share the road with motorcyclesMotorcycles 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. 
  6. Obey all posted speed limits.  Or drive slower, if necessary, based on weather or traffic conditions.
  7. Maintain proper tire air pressureWarmer temperatures can cause tires to be overinflated. 
  8. Turn your lights onEspecially during twilight hours, making it easier for other drivers to see you.  
  9. Large vehicles tend to drive slower speedsBe prepared to slow down, stay out of their blind spots, pay close attention to turn signals and give them extra space to maneuver.
Colorado: The Official State Web Portal