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Improving Ski Season Traffic

Published: July 9, 2015

Ski Season Traffic

The Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, administered a three-step strategy to ease the flow of ski season traffic on Interstate 70 and revealed positive results.  Efforts taken last season reduced the number of accidents, the total number of delay hours and the overall time the roadway was closed.

CDOT observed that overall injury and fatal crashes were prevented by 35 percent, while weather related crashes decreased by 46 percent.  In addition, unplanned closures were also decreased by 16 percent and eastbound I-70 delays over 75 minutes were cut by 26 percent.

“We were pleased that the strategies we have and continue to implement are making a difference in the I-70 experience for all travelers,” said Ryan Rice, CDOT’s director of transportation systems management and operations.

Three areas of focus that were altered to improve the overall driving experience for mountain corridor travelers include:

  • Infrastructure:  The I-70 Twin Tunnels Project in Idaho Springs is complete, creating a wider tunnel of close to 53 feet.  The additional space provided an additional third lane of traffic for the new eastbound tunnel and will accommodate a third lane for westbound traffic in the future.
  • Operations:  New snow removal procedures were implemented by CDOT this past season, with a total investment of $8 million.  Snow removal tactics included adding more plow drivers along the corridor and using snowplow escorts at the Eisenhower Tunnel approach.
  • Public Education:  “Change Your Peak Drive” was launched by CDOT to inform the public on the importance of having good tires, driving safely around plows, the best times for travel and the means to obtain CDOT driving resources.  This campaign partnered with the local ski resorts and the I-70 Coalition to make ski season traffic information more available to the general public!

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