Craig briefs: Heavy traffic expected along I-70 this weekend

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Heavy traffic is expected along the Interstate 70 mountain corridor this weekend, according to a press release from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Westbound traffic should anticipate delays Friday and Saturday morning into the early afternoon. Eastbound traffic is expected to be heavy during the hours of 12 p.m. through 6 p.m. Motorists should allow for plenty of extra time. Adverse weather is anticipated in many spots along the corridor throughout the weekend, and motorists are encouraged to use caution and drive according to conditions.

CDOT will have snowplows, commercial vehicle tow trucks and courtesy patrol staged along the I-70 corridor and on Vail pass in anticipation of weather and delays. CDOT has been working with incident responders and other stakeholders to enhance strategies that allow CDOT to better address conditions and record traffic causing significant delays.

With some ski resorts reporting the most snowfall in more than 10 years, CDOT is working to ensure a safe volume of motorists traveling to the mountains. It encourages the traveling public to ensure their vehicles are properly equipped for conditions, to drive for winter conditions when appropriate and to anticipate heavy delays when traveling during peak times.

 To ensure public safety in the Eisenhower Tunnel, CDOT may implement metering before the tunnel.  Metering is used sparingly in this area to ensure that emergency personnel can access the tunnel during an incident.  Should weather conditions require it, CDOT will implement wave escorts further down the mountain at Silverthorne to ensure that eastbound traffic can steadily move up the hill without having to stop and encounter possible traction issues. Implemented for the first time last Sunday, wave escorts kept traffic rolling, resulting in fewer delays on a heavily congested weekend in inclement weather.

 CDOT encourages all drivers to be prepared for the possibility of a storm as that is likely along the corridor this weekend and throughout the remainder of the winter season. Stocking your vehicle with essentials such as water, blankets, windshield wiper fluid, hand warmers and nonperishable food items is highly encouraged. Preparing vehicles before a trip and driving according to conditions is essential to winter travel along this corridor. Be cautious of motorists if moving outside of your vehicle should it become disabled along the roadway.

Colorado Farmers can grow industrial hemp

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has adopted the first industrial hemp rules in state history. The rules became effective Dec. 30, 2013, according to a release. Producers can begin to register with CDA’s industrial hemp program March 1.

“These rules are the first step to allow Colorado producers to legally grow industrial hemp,” Colorado Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Carleton said.

Producers must register with CDA by May 1 if they would like to grow industrial hemp during the 2014 growing season. The annual registration fee for commercial production of industrial hemp will be $200 plus $1 per acre. The annual registration fee for production of industrial hemp for research and development will be $100 plus $5 per acre. All registrations will be valid for one year from date of issuance.

All registrants are subject to sampling of their industrial hemp crop to verify that the THC concentration does not exceed 0.3 percent on dry weight basis; as many as 33 percent of the registrants will be inspected each year. During the inspection, the registrant or authorized representative must provide the department’s inspector with complete and unrestricted access to all industrial hemp plants and seeds whether growing or harvested, all land, buildings and other structures used for the cultivation and storage of industrial hemp, as well as all documents and records pertaining to the registrant’s industrial hemp growing business.

The rules were developed in response to the recent passing of Amendment 64 and legislation enacted by the Colorado General Assembly. SB13-241 delegates to the department the responsibility for establishing a registration and inspection program. 

“The General Assembly, with SB13-241, has made it clear that cultivation, for either commercial or research and development purposes, is not authorized unless the prospective grower first registers with the department,” Carleton said.

The rules and more information about industrial hemp can be found by visiting www.colorado.gov/ag/dpi and clicking on “industrial hemp.”

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