I-70 travel risky as CDOT recommends caution during winter weather | CraigDailyPress.com

I-70 travel risky as CDOT recommends caution during winter weather

Craig Press Staff Report

Colorado Department of Transportation advises caution for drivers on Interstate 70.

Colorado Department of Transportation encourages those heading into the high country this weekend to be prepared for snow packed and slushy roads, according to a news release from the agency.

 "We really encourage travelers to be prepared for the changing road conditions." said CDOT's I-70 Mountain Corridor Manager Patrick Chavez. "Our patrols along the I-70 mountain corridor and on state and US highways in the southwest part of the state are gearing up, if they're not already out there, to clear the roads of snow and keep the traveling public moving safely."

 CDOT officials also say the best strategy for travelers during adverse weather is to sometimes find a safe haven to await better travel conditions and be patient.

"We often hear how frustrated travelers are that we don’t provide estimated times of opening the highway, but rapidly changing conditions during a winter storm and motorists that may not be prepared for snow, make it difficult for us to predict an exact opening time," Chavez said.

When adverse weather hits, CDOT staffs up for the storm with plows out in force. CDOT also relies heavily on partners from Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies to assist with safely reopening roads when surfaces are cleared or after a crash incident.

Chavez urged the public to use online resources only and directly from CDOT.

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"Our patrols and dispatchers are monitoring conditions 24/7. Information on road conditions and the status of closures is updated on http://www.COTRIP.org,” he said. “CDOT is not associated with any of the mobile apps currently available on smart devices. COTRIP is the place to go."

CDOT's communication team also posts updates on social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter. The Twitter feed reports out the same information from the COTRIP site.

CDOT said a National Weather Service forecast for the I-70 Mountain Corridor includes a winter weather advisory is in effect during the weekend. Because snow accumulations could reach four to nine inches at higher elevations along I-70, motorists are reminded that travel could be difficult.

High winds and blowing snow will reduce visibility significantly. Travelers along the interstate are also reminded to be prepared for the possibility of safety closures.  Safety closures are conducted when road conditions become unsafe. The closures allow time for patrols to work efficiently and return the highway to a safe condition for travelers.

A winter weather advisory is in place for the Southwest San Juan Mountains on Saturday. Snow started falling early Friday morning and is expected to bring snow accumulations of five to 10 inches. Snow will cause difficult travel conditions. Expect snow packed roads and limited visibility. The hazardous conditions will especially impact morning or evening commutes.