Potential blizzard conditions will affect the Monday morning commute

Winter Travel Alert

January 8, 2024 - Statewide - High winds and snow are likely across the Palmer Divide and I-70 near Limon

Statewide — CDOT is warning drivers of a potentially hazardous morning commute on Jan. 8 due to forecasted snow and high winds, which could create blizzard-like conditions with blowing snow and low visibility. Areas of higher concern include the Palmer Divide (I-25, CO 83, and CO 105) and I-70 near Limon. Wind gusts of up to 55 MPH are possible along the Palmer Divide and up to 70 MPH are possible on eastern I-70. There remains uncertainty with snow amounts, so those who have to travel Monday morning will want to keep up to date with current forecasts. Safety closures are likely due to high winds and blowing snow. If you are able to work remotely and avoid traveling during the brunt of the storm Monday morning, it is encouraged.

Winter Weather Highlights map for Jan. 7 and 8
National Weather Service Winter Weather Highlights map for Jan. 7 and 8

In the Denver Metro Area, drivers should expect snow to accumulate quickly due to below freezing pavement temperatures ahead of the storm. Snow is anticipated to hit the urban corridor in the early morning hours Jan. 8, with impacts expected through the morning commute. Conditions will worsen both south of Denver along I-25 and east of Denver along I-70. CDOT crews will be out in advance of and throughout the winter storm to clear and treat state-owned highways, with a priority focus on interstates, overpasses, and bridges.

Southeast Colorado can expect blizzard conditions south and east of Pueblo and in northern El Paso County with appreciable snowfall and wind gusts in excess of 50 MPH. Snowfall of up to 6” overnight and into the early morning commute in northern El Paso County will affect the I-25 commute into the Denver Metro area. Blizzard conditions may necessitate highway safety closures in the southeastern plains.

The weekend storm dropped significant amounts of snow along several mountain corridors. Travelers should be aware that closures may occur at any time due to winter maintenance operations at snow slide and avalanche areas. Travelers are encouraged to frequently check COtrip.org for updates.

Travelers must be prepared for winter driving conditions, especially if you are headed to the mountains or sparsely populated areas. Your trip begins with planning. Check the weather and road conditions by going to COtrip.org 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.

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, COtrip.org and traffic/roadway condition alerts. For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit codot.gov/travel/winter-driving/tractionlaw. For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit codot.gov/travel/colorado-chain-laws. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov.

COtrip.org and COtrip Planner app

Motorists are urged to visit COtrip.org and download the COtrip Planner app ahead of traveling. Motorists are now able to sign up for travel alerts through COtrip.org 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.

CDOT is also pleased to offer motorists the opportunity to track CDOT snow plows on the app and website, and can even follow some of our “celebrity” plows that were named by elementary school students last year. Using the snow plow tracker allows motorists to see where our plows have been and even see what the road conditions look like by viewing the cameras in the area of the plows. CDOT plows have thousands of miles of roadway to maintain, so motorists are asked to please be patient and are reminded to never pass a plow on the right or while in echelon formation. It is always safer to stay behind a plow.

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: