News

Slow to ramp up Saturday, storm makes itself known on Sunday

March 14, 2021 - Statewide News - Numerous road closures continue due to adverse conditions
I-25 Monument Hill Snow Removal plow
CDOT Photo: A snow blower throws snow over the guardrail on I-25 Monument Hill, between Denver and Colorado Springs. This is a heavy piece of equipment that is rarely used on this section of interstate.

Motorists should keep a close watch on the weather and road conditions and plan to stay off the roads during the storm. Return travel from the mountains into Denver will be extremely challenging on Sunday for those who visited the high country. Motorists should make arrangements to postpone travel until Monday when the storm has passed and conditions improve.  

“While the storm took some time to pick up yesterday, it is much more intense today — and just as it arrived a little later than anticipated, it will be with us for longer than originally expected, through today and tonight,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We ask motorists not to let their guard down; today’s conditions are worse than yesterday.”

“We saw great partnership from the public as this storm slowly moved in yesterday,” said State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard. “Now we need people’s continued help and cooperation to keep everyone safe—stay home if you can and limit travel for only essential or emergency needs.”

Many road closures are currently in place and more closures are expected as the storm intensifies through the day Sunday and into the night. Motorists should check COtrip.org for up-to-date conditions and closure information. Heavy accumulations of snow, snow packed and icy roads, and low visibility will continue well into the evening along I-70, I-25 and other highway corridors in the foothills and the Front Range. 

Motorists are encouraged NOT to seek alternate routes to circumvent road closures, but rather stay put or turn back and find a safe place to wait out the storm. If a highway safety closure is in place, that means the alternate routes could be impassable.  

“Yesterday, we saw much of the initial snow melt because of relatively warm air and surface temperatures; today, as the storm ramps up, much more is sticking to the roads,” said CDOT Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme. “That means difficult driving conditions with poor visibility during parts of the day. This will get worse in the evening when it’s colder and darker. If you went to the mountains this weekend, please don’t plan to drive home tonight.”

Drivers of both passenger cars and commercial trucks are reminded of the importance of complying with chain and traction law requirements. Passenger vehicles should not attempt to traverse roads without snow tires. Commercial trucks must carry chains.

Please note: At this time there is an I-70 westbound closure at Debeque (Exit 62), between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, due to a hazardous materials spill. This extended closure has no estimated time of reopening and will likely last most of the day. Motorists need to check COtrip.org BEFORE traveling for the latest updates. 

Here is what motorists need to know:

  • AVOID traveling on impacted roads during the storm, throughout the Denver Metro area, on the I-70 Mountain Corridor and I-25 South Gap construction zone between Castle Rock and Monument.  CDOT is likely to close these roadways for safety reasons depending on the severity of the storm.

  • It is also possible I-70 east of Airpark Road and other roadways in the Eastern Plains may close depending on the severity of the storm. 

  • CDOT crews are out in force and plowing roads, focusing on clearing the primary routes such as I-25, I-70 and impacted interstates. Plows will make multiple passes on these roads during the storm and will not be able to address the secondary routes until the worst of the storm has passed. This means many roadways could be heavily snow packed--making for hazardous driving conditions.

  • During a significant and high impact snow storm, travel should be limited to emergency and essential reasons only with the proper vehicle and tires for heavy snow. DO NOT ATTEMPT to drive in severe weather conditions unless you have the appropriate tires with good tread. If you are out in the storm, have an emergency kit with blankets, food, batteries, water, a shovel and survival supplies should you get stuck or stranded.  

  • It’s best to STAY OFF THE ROADS DURING A HEAVY SNOW EVENT.

  • Bow to the plow! Motorists should leave ample distance behind the vehicle ahead and NOT PASS PLOWS. 

  • For more information on preparing for the snow, chain and traction laws and other winter storm related guidance, go to winter.codot.gov.

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 Winter Wise

CDOT’s Winter Wise campaign focuses on education, tools and resources to help keep drivers safe on Colorado’s winter roads. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov. For specific information about I-70 and other highway travel conditions, motorists can call 511 or check COtrip.org. Additionally, drivers can check Twitter for up-to-date travel information via @ColoradoDOT. For more detailed information about the Traction and Passenger Vehicle Safety Laws, snowplow laws, safety stats and frequently asked questions, visit winter.codot.gov.  

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.