Prepare for winter driving conditions this holiday weekend across Colorado

Winter Travel Alert

December 21, 2023 - Statewide - Snowy weather and bitter cold temperatures expected, particularly in the high country

Statewide — Motorists can expect a return of winter weather this weekend, with a storm system expected to move across the Rockies Saturday through Monday, bringing the potential for moderate to heavy snow accumulations to the Continental Divide. According to the National Weather Service, travel impacts due to slick roads could be greatest across central, western and southern Colorado and the San Juan Mountains Saturday and Sunday. Visit the NWS website using this link. Snow is also expected across eastern Colorado Saturday night.

Travelers must be prepared for winter driving conditions, especially if you are headed to the mountains. Your trip begins with planning. Check the weather and road conditions by going to before heading out. Make sure you are equipped for the drive. Tires with at least 3/16” of an inch of tread are essential. A well maintained vehicle and an emergency kit with extra clothing, water, food and other essentials are critical to mountain driving in the winter. Once you are out on the road, take it slow, no sudden stops and leave plenty of following distance. Give plows space! Stay back three to four car lengths from snowplows. Should the weather get severe, there is the possibility of road closures.

Colorado Department of Transportation crews will be out in advance of and throughout the winter storms to clear and treat roads.

Holiday Traffic

Expect heavier traffic in many areas of the state over the next week-and-a-half as people travel for the holidays. Heavy traffic is anticipated on Interstate 70 between Denver and Eagle County during the week following Christmas due to typical increases. To help with traffic flow, road projects along the I-70 mountain corridor will be suspended from Friday, Dec. 22 to early January 2024, after the New Year’s Day holiday.

All other CDOT road projects are required to suspend lane closures by noon Friday, Dec. 22 to 6 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 26 and by noon Friday, Dec. 29 to 6 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 2. The only work exception is for emergency operations.

I-70 Mountain Express Lanes

An Express Lane in each direction runs adjacent to the general purpose lanes on I-70 from Empire through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels, passing Idaho Springs. The Mountain Express Lanes will be open on the following days, with the westbound lanes open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and eastbound lanes open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and hours for both lanes to be extended if necessary:

  • Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Sunday, Dec. 24
  • Monday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26
  • Wednesday, Dec. 27
  • Thursday, Dec. 28
  • Friday, Dec. 29
  • Saturday, Dec. 30
  • Sunday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve)
  • Monday, Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day)

Bustang Services

For skiers and snowboarders who prefer another option to travel to the slopes, CDOT is running its Snowstang bus service on weekends and Monday holidays (except Christmas and New Year’s Day), with roundtrip express service to Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Loveland Ski Area and Steamboat Springs. For more information, please visit

Chain and Traction Laws

When weather conditions warrant, CDOT will activate the Traction Law. If weather conditions deteriorate, CDOT will activate Chain Laws for passenger and commercial vehicles. Motorists will be alerted to an active Traction or Chain Law by highway signage, and traffic/roadway condition alerts. For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit & COtrip Planner App

Visit and download the COtrip Planner app ahead of time. Motorists can sign up for travel alerts through to see if there are any highway closures or impacts along their favorite routes. The COtrip Planner app also offers a “Trip Planner” feature that allows motorists to map out their routes and receive updates about road closures or incidents along the way. Motorists can turn on the “Hands-Free, Eyes Free” feature to receive these alerts via voice notifications and avoid routes with impacts.

The free COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!

Know Before You Go

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