Minimize travel this holiday week

Colorado News

Maximize safeguards to reduce risk from virus; watch for winter weather early in the week 

DENVER, Colo. – While nonessential travel is not recommended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado Department of Transportation still anticipates increased traffic along some of the state roadways over Thanksgiving weekend. 

This Thanksgiving, the state of Colorado is urging people to not not gather with anyone outside of your household (people you don’t live with), to wear a mask when you’re outside of your home and stay 6 feet from others. One out of 49 Coloradans is infected with this deadly virus.

“We all have a duty to keep ourselves and each other safe, whether traveling or staying close to home,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “If you are on the road, stay alert and avoid impaired driving at all costs — unfortunately the holidays can be a dangerous time for accidents. This year, please be extra cautious due to the severe COVID risk that many regions are experiencing right now.  If you do drive, be mindful of the COVID ‘dial level’ where you are traveling, wear a mask, and maintain social distance.” 

Additional information on the COVID-19 dial framework is available here

Expect slick and some snowpacked conditions on roads in the high country and along the Front Range this week, and a challenging Tuesday morning commute for the Denver region

Snow is expected in the mountains and along the foothills beginning Monday night, with two to five inches possible in the Denver metro area, four to eight inches in the foothills and six to ten inches on the I-70 mountain corridor.

Denver motorists should expect a burst of snow to fall quickly during Tuesday’s morning commute, making for a challenging drive with slushy, snow packed and icy conditions likely. The most severe conditions are expected in the suburbs to the west and south of Denver, the foothills and Palmer Divide, according to the forecast.   

If possible, limit travel until the storm moves out later tomorrow.  Motorists should be equipped for winter weather with the appropriate tires. 

Motorists heading to ski areas should check road conditions at www.cotrip.org and review weather forecasts before traveling. This applies to motorists traveling on Interstate 70, U.S. 285 and other major roadways. 

CDOT winter driving tips downloadable flyer: WinterWise Driving Tips.  Please go to the bottom of the release for information on the chain and traction laws. 

Construction work suspended over the holiday and typical traffic volumes on the I-70 Mountain Corridor

CDOT construction and maintenance projects will be suspended beginning Wednesday to help minimize traffic impacts. Projects can resume work on Monday, Nov. 30.  The only exception is for emergency operations.  

Thanksgiving traffic typically is lower than during other holiday weekends. Vehicle numbers through the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels in 2019 was as follows: 

WestboundEastboundTotal
Wednesday, Nov. 2724,88018,57343,453
Thursday, Nov. 2817,42313,97431,397
Friday, Nov. 297,55812,04419,602
Saturday, Nov. 3014,54020,32934,869
Sunday, Dec. 120,31925,61545,934
Total84,72090,535175,255

In addition to checking cotrip.org, drivers can get the latest information on the status of the state’s roadways by calling 511.  Specific information regarding Interstate 70 is available at: www.GoI70.com.  

For more information on how to have a safer Thanksgiving, please see:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/thanksgiving

CHAIN and TRACTION LAWS 

CDOT urges travelers to be aware of chain and traction law codes before heading out on the roadway.

  • Code 18/Commercial Chain Law: Commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains. Vehicles without chains can often lose traction, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it’s critical to use chains to be in compliance with Colorado’s chain law.
  • Code 15/Passenger Traction Law: All motorists are required to either have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, or (for two-wheel drive vehicles) snow tires or all-weather tires with a mud/snow designation. Tread depth on all tires must be at least 3/16″ regardless of vehicle type. Vehicles that do not meet these criteria must carry chain devices or alternative traction devices such as an AutoSock. The law focuses on passenger vehicles, as commercial vehicles have their own restrictions. It is unlawful to proceed when a state highway is closed or to proceed when a restriction is in effect without the required traction equipment. Violators will be given a citation, which comes with a $100 fine and $32 surcharge. That jumps to a $500 fine with a $156 surcharge if a violation results in the closure of one or more traffic lanes.
  • Code 16/Passenger Chain Law: All passenger vehicles need chains, except for 4WD and AWD vehicles with all-weather tires with 3/16 inch tread depth.

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