Although the number of out-of-state and international skiers coming into Denver is up 10% over previous years, the morale of these travelers is down because of the problematic passageway on the 1-70 from the Denver airport to the ski resorts.
Natives of Denver and companies providing Denver to Vail transportation, especially, are concerned. Last winter’s punishing snow and ice conditions causing difficult travel on the 1-70, and year-round traffic congestion, have created negative chatter and finger pointing at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The public wants Denver’s I-70 transportation challenges corrected once and for all.
The CDOT is certainly not lean on strategies when addressing the weather and volume challenges on the I-70. But, what exactly are they doing about them?
The construction of a high speed train along the I-70 is the favored, end all solution. But, space and lack of funding have kept an I-70 Coalition stunted for over a decade. Until this long term solution becomes a reality, the CDOT initiated alternative solutions. The eastbound side of the Twin Tunnels have been widened from two lanes to three. An express toll lane is opening this year allowing for a reduction in travel time and congestion related car accidents. The CDOT is also widening the westbound Twin Tunnel and hoping to put an express lane there in the near future.
Other fixes include the launch of I-70 Mountain Travel Radio that provides up-to-date and real-time road and traffic conditions on the I-70, airing every weekend throughout the ski season, via CoTrip.org and the CDOT Mobile App. Updates are also available by calling 511, and on the CDOT’s website, Twitter, and Facebook page.
Some solutions rely on the public’s cooperation as CDOT implements traffic control at the ski resorts to manage volume prior to travelers’ departure. In cooperation with the CDOT, altering plans by skipping the rush hour, delaying return time or day, or spending an extra hour skiing are all effective options.
The CDOT will also increase ramp management to reduce traffic volume, conduct snowplow escorts during adverse conditions, improve passenger vehicle traction through the sale of chains and other traction devices, and close eastbound I-70 to commercial vehicles when conditions require.
Until other strategies can be attained, these solutions are substantial in improving the I-70. Detailed descriptions are available on the CDOT website. We can’t change the weather. But, we can cooperate with the CDOT’s efforts.