DENVER - As the Fourth of July weekend prepares to kick off, the Colorado Department of Transportation is urging motorists to "Change your Peak Time" and stay in the mountains to avoid the gridlock of the Interstate 70 rush.
CDOT estimates that heavy traffic will begin Thursday for westbound travelers as motorists head up the I-70 mountain corridor.
In 2013, westbound travel times on July 3 peaked at 97 minutes in the late afternoon. Travel times for westbound traffic surpassed 100 minutes on July 4 for the noon hour.
Motorists heading up the mountain corridor should expect delays throughout the day on July 3 and July 4 when traveling westbound and should allow for extra time or plan to travel earlier in the day.
The heaviest travel day for eastbound traffic is anticipated to be Sunday, July 6. Peak travel times for Sunday are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Increased traffic volumes are expected Saturday as well in the eastbound direction.
Motorists are encouraged to avoid peak travel times Saturday and Sunday and expect delays throughout both days.
As an alternative to joining the rush home, CDOT has partnered with the I-70 Coalition to offer discounts, deals and incentives for travelers to stay in the mountains for an extra hour or two or even spend the night on Sundays.