On February 9, 2013, if you were driving on the I-70 corridor between Vail and the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel, what would normally have taken two hours to drive turned into an eight to ten-hour nightmare. This is just one incident when the congestion on the roadway that leads from Denver and surrounding areas to Colorado’s Ski Country was more than most motorists could bear.
Not only is the overcrowding on this highway painful, it can lead to safety concerns as well as a financial hit for one of the biggest economic industries in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recognizes this concern and was featured in The Gazette’s article on September 30, 2014 – “I-70 Mountain Winter Travel Issues Will Get Extra Focus” – about working towards viable solutions to keep motorists safe, even during inclement weather, and to “keep things moving” on I-70.
One of the problems that presented itself last February was that many of the vehicles on the road that day were improperly equipped with winter driving gear. CDOT and Colorado Ski Country USA are partnering to get the word out to motorists to ensure their vehicles are in good shape for winter driving. This includes proper winter-ready tires, and possibly chains that assist in providing maximum traction when traversing snow and ice packed roads.
CDOT is financially backing this initiative as well, with $6 million being invested in operational funds to battle the congestion on I-70. One of the solutions they will be deploying with these funds is hiring an I-70 Incident Commander who will work weekends and cooperate with the Colorado State Patrol to help keep the highways clear. CDOT told the Denver Post that they are also dedicating finances to the ongoing widening of the Twin Tunnels in Idaho Springs and plan to add a peak period shoulder toll lane in that area.
Keeping big rigs off the roads during extremely adverse weather is another plan CDOT (and the Incident Commander) will be implementing. To accomplish this, they will stop trucks and stack them on the shoulders until weather clears and the roads are safe for these 18 wheelers.
Finally, if a non-injury crash occurs and there is no evidence of drugs or alcohol involved, the cars will be moved to the shoulders or off the highway altogether to finalize paperwork or exchange information. This should assist in keeping the flow of traffic from slowing or stopping. [These are the steps to follow in case of an accident.]
McDivitt Law Firm supports CDOT and the ski industry for their efforts in keeping the I-70 corridor safe and stress free for commuters taking advantage of the slopes and all that Summit County has to offer. We encourage all motorists to drive safely, and ensure you and your vehicle are prepared with all-weather gear to handle any situation the ever-changing Colorado weather throws your way.