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I-70 West Traffic Management

I-70 West Pacing

In order to improve the safety, reliability, and mobility of the I-70 corridor, CDOT plans to employ several strategies to help motorists travel during the winter season.  Specifically motorists can expect a variety of approaches to effectively manage traffic through control measures such as ramp management, Snowplow Escorts, quick clearance of traffic incidents, and real-time traveler information through cotrip.org, 511 and CDOT mobile.

Because Eisenhower Tunnel has no shoulders, when traffic threatens to back up into the tunnel from heavy traffic congestion or incidents, traffic must be stopped or Safety Metering implemented to allow traffic to clear and maintain access to the interior of the tunnel for emergency response vehicles.  When road conditions on the approaches to the tunnel are adverse, vehicles lose traction and cause significant delays, such as the three-hour delays between Silverthorne and the tunnel on February 9, 2014.  The highest travel delays of the winter occur when heavy traffic congestion necessitates metering Eisenhower Tunnel.  CDOT will use the following mitigation strategies to achieve this.

Increase Ramp Management

  • Meter on ramps to eastbound I-70 at Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Loveland to reduce traffic volume moving through Eisenhower Tunnel and reduce eastbound backups from reaching the interior of the tunnel.

Snowplow Escorts

  • Conduct Snowplow Escorts from Silverthorne to Herman Gulch during adverse conditions to provide optimal road conditions and safe speeds during periods when backups into Eisenhower Tunnel are most likely.

Commercial Vehicle Staging

  • When conditions require, close eastbound I-70 to commercial vehicles at Dotsero when road conditions and traffic volumes are such that a public safety emergency is likely and imminent

Traffic incidents range from a flat tire to a semi rollover crash.  Traffic incidents in the I-70 Mountain Corridor can create major delays or cause a full closure of the Interstate.  For example, incidents involving commercial vehicles account for 57% of the total road closures in winter in this corridor.  Reducing incident clearance times improves the reliability of the corridor for all travelers.

  • Conduct FHWA Traffic Incident Management training for corridor first responders
  • Establish performance measures for traffic incident clearance
  • Conduct routine incident debriefings and performance assessments
  • Stage CDOT Heavy Tow and Courtesy Patrol units at locations with identified peak hour crash patterns as well as increase hours of patrol units

Snowplow Escorts involve short holds of traffic to allow CDOT snowplows to lead an escort of traffic with Colorado State Patrol up steep mountain passes in adverse conditions.  This allows for traffic to travel on freshly treated roads at a safe, controlled speed that helps reduce the occurrence of winter related crashes and vehicle traction issues.

  • Work with partner agencies to implement Snowplow Escort procedures at steep grade locations in the corridor during adverse weather and traffic volumes periods with the high likelihood of crashes and spinouts.