CDOT: State highway travelers should plan ahead this weekend
For those traveling across the state for the long weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation is urging drivers to expect traffic delays on state highways.
“The eastbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to help ease traffic flow for motorists headed eastbound on I-70 from Empire through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to Idaho Springs,” a news release from CDOT reads. “Motorists will be able to take the Express Lane in exchange for a toll for faster travel times.”
According to CDOT, Presidents Day is one of the busiest travel times on the I-70 Mountain Corridor. Because of winter weather over the weekend and early next week, the department is urging drivers to be extra prepared and cautious while traveling. Ski traffic is expected to congest much of the Mountain Corridor, and CDOT is encouraging drivers to stay aware of winter conditions.
CDOT implemented highway safety closures 216 times on I-70 between October 2020 and January 2021 and deployed 929 courtesy patrols. During a safety closure, traffic may be stopped on the interstate, turned around or directed to an exit.
“We consider Presidents Day the unofficial midpoint of winter and use this opportunity to review our data to see how it translates to safe winter driving,” said Andrew Hogle, CDOT public information officer, in a news release. “Winter driving preparedness is something every Coloradan should take seriously, even for short trips. Winter driving safety has nothing to do with the distance of your trip or number of cars on the road — it’s about how your car handles snow and ice.”
From October 2020 to January 2021, roughly 3.9 million drivers traveled through the tunnels — a nearly 6% decrease from the 4.2 million drivers during the same period last year. In 2019, over 174,000 people traveled through Eisenhower Tunnel during Presidents Day weekend. During that year, Friday and Sunday were the busiest days.
For specific information about I-70 and other highway travel conditions, motorists can call 511 or check COtrip.org.
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