News

Hazardous travel conditions to continue through the night

March 14, 2021 - Statewide News - CDOT & CSP officials continue to urge drivers to stay off the roads

Traffic on I-70 Floyd Hill on March 14

Trucks and cars stopped on I-70 at Floyd Hill due to spun-out vehicles ahead.

STATEWIDE — The Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol are warning drivers that hazardous travel conditions will continue through the night and likely into Monday morning. CDOT crews are concentrating their efforts on clearing primary routes first, such as interstates, US highways and state highways. Because of this, drivers should be aware that secondary roadways will be heavily snow packed making for hazardous driving conditions. 

“CDOT’s maintenance personnel and plow fleet have been out in full force for the past two days,” said CDOT Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme. “Snow plows and heavy equipment will continue to clear primary routes like I-70 and I-25 throughout the night. This means secondary routes may not be addressed until Monday morning, when crews have an opportunity to shift their focus there.” 

Those returning home from Colorado’s high country are urged to keep a close watch on the weather and road conditions.

“Even as the storm subsides, travel across the state will be extremely challenging on Monday morning,” said Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. “If you are driving to Denver from the high country, plan your trip for late morning or afternoon. If you are unable to work from home, plan for extra time for your commute. Taking a slow and cautious approach will help you experience a smoother, easier journey.” 

The State of Colorado has closed offices in Denver and surrounding counties to keep many commuters and their vehicles off the snowy roads. Workers in other sectors are also encouraged to take advantage of telecommuting, remote work, delayed work hours, and office closures if possible.

“Keeping off the roads whenever possible is the surest way to stay out of harm’s way during this storm,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “CDOT and CSP appreciate the cooperation from the public in keeping traffic volumes low this weekend. This has been critical to allowing CDOT crews to respond and will help us get the roads cleared faster.”

Many road closures are currently in place and more closures can be expected into the night. The National Weather Service forecasts high winds for many areas that will cause blowing snow and low visibility, especially along the eastern plains. Snow packed roads, icy surfaces, and low visibility will also continue well into the evening along I-70, I-25 and other highway corridors in the foothills and the Front Range. 

Motorists should check COtrip.org for up-to-date conditions and closure information.

During winter storms, travelers should heed warnings by CDOT and CSP to stay off the roads. This will keep motorists from being caught in a closure. If travel cannot be avoided, it is imperative to have an emergency kit and survival supplies like water, snacks, and blankets to safely wait out an extending closure.

Motorists are encouraged NOT to seek alternate routes to circumvent road closures, but rather stay put or turn back and find a safe place to wait out the storm. If a highway safety closure is in place, that means the alternate routes will be impassable. 

Once the snow storm passes, drivers of both passenger cars and commercial trucks should be aware that chain and traction laws may remain in place due to snow packed road conditions. Passenger vehicles should not attempt to traverse roads without snow tires. Commercial trucks must carry chains.

Here is what motorists need to know now:

  • Several roads in the state remain closed tonight due to very hazardous winter weather and driving conditions. For the latest list, check out the homepage on COtrip.org. High winds and blowing snow have made conditions worse. AVOID the I-25 South Gap between south Denver and Monument, I-25 north of Denver, and the I-70 Mountain Corridor. All roads should be avoided. 

  • When a road closes, alternate routes will likely be in worse shape. 

  • CDOT crews have been out in force plowing roads, focusing on clearing the primary routes such as I-25, I-70 and impacted interstates. Plows will continue to make multiple passes on these roads during the storm and will not be able to address the secondary routes until the worst of the storm has passed. This means many roadways are heavily snow packed--making for hazardous driving conditions.

  • During a significant and high impact snow storm, travel should be limited to emergency and essential reasons only, with the proper vehicle and tires for heavy snow. DO NOT ATTEMPT to drive in severe weather conditions unless you have the appropriate tires with good tread. If you are out in the storm, have an emergency kit with blankets, food, batteries, water, a shovel and survival supplies should you get stuck or stranded.  

  • It’s best to STAY OFF THE ROADS DURING A HEAVY SNOW EVENT.

  • Bow to the plow! Motorists should leave ample distance behind the vehicle ahead and NOT PASS PLOWS. 

  • For more information on preparing for the snow, chain and traction laws and other winter storm related guidance, go to winter.codot.gov.

Stay Informed 

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

About Winter Wise

CDOT’s Winter Wise campaign focuses on education, tools and resources to help keep drivers safe on Colorado’s winter roads. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov. For specific information about I-70 and other highway travel conditions, motorists can call 511 or check COtrip.org. Additionally, drivers can check Twitter for up-to-date travel information via @ColoradoDOT. For more detailed information about the Traction and Passenger Vehicle Safety Laws, snowplow laws, safety stats and frequently asked questions, visit winter.codot.gov.  

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.