Expect heavy traffic amid adverse weather, CDOT warns

DENVER — Mother Nature is preparing to dump as much as 8 inches of snow in the Denver area and mountain corridor Saturday, making for adverse travel conditions.

The Colorado Department of Transportation cautioned motorists to be patient as heavy traffic and winter driving conditions along Interstate 70 between the Denver area, and Vail will significantly slow travel times along the corridor this weekend.

Snow accumulations will become more pronounced and widespread Friday evening and Saturday and continuing into early Sunday morning. The central mountains and I-70 Corridor will see highest accumulations, along with mountain passes across the state. 

Visibility on the highways also could be difficult, with wind gusts in the central mountains up to 50 mph, reducing sight distances at the Eisenhower Tunnel, and on Loveland, Vail and Berthoud passes. 

Motorists heading west Friday afternoon and Saturday morning should anticipate an additional 30 to 45 minutes of travel time from Denver to the Eisenhower Tunnel, CDOT said.  Eastbound I-70 can expect the same delays on Saturday and Sunday afternoon as ski traffic heads back to the Front Range.

The agency is warning drivers to be aware of traction and passenger vehicle chain laws, which could be activated this weekend.

When activated, the traction law requires motorists to have snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M/S) designation, or a four-wheel-drive vehicle. All tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.

The passenger vehicle chain law means every vehicle on the roadway must have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).
 
CDOT says a $130 fine is possible if a driver is not utilizing the proper equipment. Blocking the highway due to negligence can net a $650 fine.

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