A mix of spring weather to create challenging driving conditions this weekend

Winter Travel Alert

March 1, 2024 - Statewide - Expect high volume of traffic paired with snow

Statewide - A spring mix of sunshine on Saturday, March 2, and snow on Sunday, March 3 will cause increased traffic as folks head up to the high country to take advantage of both a bluebird day as well as fresh snow. Motorists should be prepared for traffic delays and metering at the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels and adjust departure times accordingly. Heavy mountain snow and strong winds are expected to produce difficult travel in the mountains Saturday evening through Monday morning. Snowfall amounts of 8 to 15 inches are possible along with significant blowing snow.

Motorists should be prepared for slick conditions through the mountains and should ensure their vehicles are prepared for winter weather conditions, including making sure their tires will pass Traction Law requirements. Visibility may be greatly reduced due to blowing snow. Travelers are strongly encouraged to drive for the conditions including reducing speed and allowing for ample space between their car and the one ahead of them.

Those headed up to the high country should consider taking one of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s bus services. CDOT’s Snowstang can transport weekend goers to Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Loveland Ski Area and Steamboat Springs. CDOT’s Pegasus shuttle service can take folks from Denver’s Union Station to Idaho Springs, Frisco, Vail and Avon. Bustang can also take travelers from Denver to Grand Junction and from Denver to Crested Butte with various stops along the way.

With winter weather in the forecast, motorists should be sure to download the free COtrip Planner app to get the latest updates on road conditions and closures. Motorists should be prepared for the chance of closures and pack extra blankets, clothing, food, water and entertainment. CDOT maintenance crews will be out ahead of the storm to prep various highways that are predicted to be impacted by winter weather. Crews will be working diligently to clear the roadways of snow and ice until the roads are clear. Motorists are urged to have patience around our plow operators and never pass plows on the right.

National Weather Service map showing expected snowfall accumulation for March 3 showing that Northwestern and Southwestern Colorado will be receiving one to seven inches of snow, with up to 28 inches in high elevations.
National Weather Service map showing expected snowfall accumulation for March 3 showing that Northwestern and Southwestern Colorado will be receiving one to seven inches of snow, with up to 28 inches in high elevations.

Winter Travel Tips for Motorists

  • Avoid or limit driving during the brunt of the storm. Many areas of the state will experience pavement impacts and blowing snow due to strong winds.
  • Work from home if you can.
  • If you plan to travel, know before you go by checking out the latest weather conditions and visiting COtrip.org for road conditions (see info sources below).
  • Make sure your vehicle is winter ready with the appropriate tires for the weather and have a snow emergency kit.
  • 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 snow plows.

Safety Closures

A safety closure is a precaution taken during inclement weather to reduce the probability of traffic incidents, increased congestion or other safety-related factors. During a safety closure, traffic may be stopped on the interstate, turned around or directed to an exit. Safety closures help decrease delay times, and, above all, keep travelers safe.

Chain & 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-law. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov.

COtrip.org & COtrip Planner App

If motorists must head out during this winter storm, they are urged to visit COtrip.org and download the COtrip Planner app ahead of time. 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.

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 and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include: