Motorists must follow lowered speed limits in I-70 work zones

News Release

June 8, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado - High speeds are putting construction workers in danger


I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR - The CDOT, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Motor Carriers Association are strongly asking motorists to slow down on Interstate 70 in Summit County. Drivers on I-70 are regularly putting construction workers in danger by speeding through two construction zones near Silverthorne (Exit 205). The work zones are for the I-70 Improvements from Frisco to Silverthorne, which includes repaving westbound lanes, and the I-70 Structure Replacement West of EJMT, which requires rebuilding an emergency turnaround underneath I-70 at Mile Point 211. High speeds, especially during night work hours, have increased the risk of an accident in or near those projects. That has resulted in two crashes in the paving project work zone and several near misses. Please click here for a media kit with videos of motorists speeding and a crash near Exit 205

“It is critically important for drivers to follow speed limits in these work zones,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed a pattern of unsafe behavior in this area and we implore drivers -- including cars and trucks alike -- to slow down in this work zone so our crews can get the projects done safely.” 

The I-70 mountain corridor can be challenging, especially for motorists who are not familiar with the area. When traveling through a work zone, it is important for drivers to pay close attention to the road, keep an eye out for workers and not be distracted by cell phones. Lower speeds are important to make sure workers and motorists stay safe--especially when work is taking place at night.

“Speed limits are designed for the conditions at hand and they are lower in construction zones,” stated Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Speed limits aren’t optional; they are the law. As a driver, that comes with the responsibility to act in a way that keeps our roads safe.”

Commercial drivers are encouraged to check for construction project locations and delays, be prepared for sudden weather changes, and always follow the posted speed limit, along with other guidelines. Truckers are encouraged to go slow, steady, and safe for the long haul. A helpful guide for commercial motorists is The Mountain Rules program and video [click here to view]

“Commercial drivers can plan ahead for construction zones by checking and should always respect work zone speed limits,” said Greg Fulton, President of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association.” Drivers should be aware of the steep grade of this section of I-70 westbound from Mile Points 213 to 205, drivers should always be in lower gears and never travel at higher speeds.” 

Commercial motorists traveling on this section of I-70 in Summit County are encouraged to use the runaway truck ramps at Mile Points 209 and 212, if their vehicle is in danger of overheating or losing breaks while traveling westbound.

Remember: Slow for the Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.

  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.

  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.

  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.

  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.

  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.

  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.

  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.

  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.

  • Be patient!

The Mountain Rules logo

Stay Informed 

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.