Summer traffic season underway Friday

Colorado News

DENVER, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to anticipate increased traffic in many areas of the state over the Memorial Day weekend as the summer travel season shifts into high gear.

Higher vehicle numbers are likely along Front Range and mountain highways. This includes westbound Interstate 70 on Friday and Saturday. On Memorial Day, drivers should expect longer drive times along eastbound I-70, especially from Summit County to the Denver area. 

In addition, CDOT is suspending all construction and maintenance projects from noon Friday until Tuesday, June 1. The only exception is for emergency operations. 

“After a hard year, we are hopeful that the holiday weekend will give Coloradans a chance to observe Memorial Day, reconnect with friends and family, and explore our beautiful state,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “However, holidays tend to mean more traffic and can unfortunately mean an uptick in tragic accidents. Please remember to buckle up, avoid distractions, and use extra caution when traveling through work zones.” 

Public health orders vary per county. For the latest information, please see:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial-dashboard 

The pre-pandemic, 2019 traffic numbers at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels:

WestboundEastboundTotal
Friday, May 2427,31216,12743,439
Saturday, May 2522,75215,65438,406
Sunday, May 2616,93820,08837,026
Monday, May 2714,51025,82040,330
Total81,51277,689159,201

Traffic numbers were significantly lower in 2020, with stay-at-home orders in place:

WestboundEastboundTotal
Friday, May 2222,92311,90534,828
Saturday, May 2316,82013,05529,875
Sunday, May 249,31215,64324,955
Monday, May 2510,28519,21429,499
Total59,34059,817119,157

The opening day for the seasonal roads listed below are tentative and weather-dependent: 

  • THURSDAY, MAY 27
    • State Highway 82 over Independence Pass, between Twin Lakes and Aspen, will reopen at 12 p.m.
  • FRIDAY, MAY 28
    • Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant. Road information: 303-679-2422.
    • Cottonwood Pass between Buena Vista and Gunnison County. Road information: 970-641-0044
  • MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND (Opening Day – Still To Be Determined)
    • Trail Ridge Road between Estes Park and Grand Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park). Road information: 970-586-1222.
    • Kebler Pass between Crested Butte and CO 133, east of Paonia. Road information: 970-641-0044
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 4 

Please visit cotrip.org for the status of the seasonal roads listed above.  For specific information about the I-70 Corridor west of Denver, please visit: www.GoI70.com

BE SAFE – BE PREPARED – FOR LATE SPRING DRIVING CONDITIONS

  •  Watch for potholes. Winter’s freeze/thaw cycle weather can damage roadways, including the creation of potholes.  Spring rain also can make them difficult to see.  And they can damage your vehicle, requiring expensive repairs. Keep a safe following distance in case the driver in front of you reacts unpredictably. Avoid swerving if you can to avoid a pothole.
  • Slow down for spring showers. Roads become slick when it first begins to rain because rainwater mixes with road contaminants, like oil and grease. Increase your following distance to allow for proper braking.
  • Watch for pedestrians and bikes. Warmer temperatures mean more people are outside walking or bicycling.  Slow down and pay extra attention at crosswalks and along roadways.
  • Share the road with motorcycles.  Motorcycles may quickly come in and out of your blind spots due to their speed and size. Always take a second look with more motorcycles out on the road.
  • Animals are on the move. Animal activity increases during the spring, either due to mating season or because they are waking up from winter hibernation.  Deer are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Maintain proper tire air pressure.  Tires lose air due to the cold winter temperatures and now can be underinflated.  Warmer temperatures can cause tires to be overinflated.
  • Inspect your tires. Adequate tire tread is important for safe driving in wet weather because the tread moves water away from the tire.  Less tread means reduced traction.

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