DENVER – Heavy snow squalls that moved through the Denver metro area Friday morning and early afternoon snarled traffic west and south of Denver and put many of the cities’ police departments on accident alert.
Interstate 25 was briefly closed over the Palmer Divide around midday Friday and chain laws were in effect for the stretch of I-25 between mile markers 156 and 174.
READ: For the latest traffic conditions across the state, click here.
Though the road had reopened by 1 p.m., traffic was still backed up for miles in the area, which is also undergoing construction.
The backup was still ongoing as of 3 p.m., with Colorado State Patrol saying that it could take two-to-three hours to travel between Castle Rock and Monument.
Extremely long delays 2 plus hours to go south on I-25 from Castle Rock to Monument. Advise you wait somewhere north of there until clear.— CSP Castle Rock (@CSP_CastleRock) January 18, 2019
"Might be a good night to stop for dinner and wait it out," CSP Castle Rock tweeted. The division said that Highway 83 was open but traffic was moving slowly and that Highway 105 was blocked by a semi crash. The frontage road between Castle Rock and Tomah was also clogged with traffic as of 3:20 p.m.
I-25 SB: Road open between Exit 167 - Greenland and Exit 163 - County Line Road. Heavy traffic. Crash clear. Heavy traffic remains between Castle Rock-Monument. Light snow, slushy/icy/snowpacked in areas. Extremely long delays will continue through afternoon.— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) January 18, 2019
By 3:45 p.m., CSP was advising drivers to avoid southbound I-25 between Castle Rock and Greenland altogether.
"Multiple crashes have clogged the road & traffic is too heavy for crews to get the road cleared. Please avoid the area. Currently speeds are rated at a crawl," CSP tweeted.
We are requesting drivers avoid I25 southbound from Greenland to Castlerock. Multiple crashes have clogged the road & traffic is too heavy for crews to get the road cleared. Please avoid the area. Currently speeds are rated at a crawl. pic.twitter.com/QlKefARk6h— CSP Public Affairs (@CSP_News) January 18, 2019
A safety closure of C-470 was put in place at 1 p.m. at the highway’s intersection with I-70.
And just before 3 p.m., U.S. Highway 6 Clear Creek Canyon was closed due to crashes and snow, though it was reopened just before 5 p.m.
Chain laws are in effect for many mountain roads throughout the state and avalanche mitigation efforts on many mountain passes and roads.
And several police departments, including those in Aurora, Lone Tree, Lakewood, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and more were on accident alert Friday afternoon because of the winter driving conditions.
In southwestern Colorado, U.S. 550 was closed in both directions between Durango and Purgatory Ski Resort, at Silverton and on the south side or Ouray because of avalanche concerns and heavy snow.
Monarch Pass was expected to close around 5 p.m. Friday for avalanche work.
For the latest traffic conditions across the state, click here.
The snow is expected to decrease in strength into the evening, but some roads could remain icy. For the latest forecast, click here.