Record number of travelers expected for July 4th weekend: How to avoid the traffic headache

Posted at 6:58 AM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 22:17:27-04

DENVER – Anyone traveling for the 4th of July weekend should be prepared to share the road with a lot of other people. But Denver7 has the inside track to help you avoid sitting in traffic for hours.

AAA says it’s expecting about 760,000 Coloradans will travel at least 50 miles from home for the holiday weekend, 610,000 of whom will be driving.

That would make 2017 the most-traveled 4th of July weekend in Colorado’s history, according to AAA.

About 80,000 travelers are expected to fly this weekend, and 70,000 will take other modes of transportation, such as trains and buses, AAA says.

Drivers in Colorado can expect to pay, on average, about $2.27 per gallon for gas in Colorado.

So who wants to avoid the mess? CDOT tracks the busiest times of holiday travel, down to the hour, on the mountain corridor of I-70 west.

Last year, the busiest travel times on the Friday before the 4th were from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the peak at 3 p.m. On the Saturday before Independence Day, the interstate was the busiest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, with the peak at 2 p.m.

Denver7's traffic guru Jayson Luber weighed in on when to hit the road.

"If you want to save the most amount of time then leave the earliest you can. Either in the morning on Friday or really late on Friday night. So, if you can leave after eight o'clock and go up there at night or even overnight, you're going to save yourself a whole lot of time. Sure it's going to be dark, you won't see much, but you'll be saving yourself a lot of time," he said.