CDOT urges travelers to be ready for serious winter weather this weekend
As updated weather forecasts show the first major winter storm of the season moving into Colorado this weekend, CDOT urges everyone to plan their travel with winter in mind. Travelers should know before you go and check COtrip.org for the latest road conditions. With snow totals as high as 17 inches forecast for Colorado’s central mountains, travelers in the high country should have winter tires installed or be ready to install traction devices on personal vehicles or chains on trucks.
“Winter is coming! During the first major storm of the season, it’s important for everyone to make sure they are ready — including factoring forecasts into weekend travel, taking it slow when winter conditions pick up, and ensuring that your car is equipped with snow tires. Be aware of the road and be extra careful because many drivers haven’t yet readjusted to driving in snowy conditions,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.
A temporary safety closure for Colorado Highway 82 Independence Pass will go into place at noon on Friday, Oct. 27, due to the winter storm. The pass will close in order to keep the traveling public and winter maintenance crews safe. Crews will reevaluate road conditions once the storm passes. The road will reopen once weather has improved and the road is safely cleared of snow and ice. Closure gates are located near Aspen and Twin Lakes. The alternate route from the Denver Metro Area to Aspen is via westbound Interstate 70 to Glenwood Springs, then CO 82 to Aspen. Independence Pass usually closes in November for the winter season.
The Denver Metro Area will have all hands on deck, with full staff and 95 snow plows ready to respond to the storm as winter weather is expected to reach the metro area over the weekend. Another 30 plows will be along the I-70 mountain corridor to the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel. Snow showers and blowing snow with poor visibility could make for hazardous driving conditions beginning Saturday night in the higher elevations.
In southeastern Colorado, snow is anticipated to begin Saturday night through Sunday morning in the Colorado Springs area and at higher elevations including Monument Hill, La Veta and Raton passes. However, snow accumulation is expected to be light. Drivers should expect some windy conditions and wet roads.
The northeast part of the state is similar to the southeast. Snow starts late Saturday but accumulations of four to six inches are expected through most of the I-25 corridor. Full snow crews in 168 plows will be on hand to handle drifts from the high winds that are expected.
Winter Travel Tips for Motorists
- Avoid or limit driving during the brunt of the storm. Many areas of the state will experience pavement impacts and blowing snow due to strong winds.
- If you plan to travel, know before you go by checking out the latest weather conditions and visiting COtrip.org for road conditions (see info sources below).
- Make sure your vehicle is winter ready with the appropriate tires for the weather and have a snow emergency kit.
- Once you are out on the road, take it slow, no sudden stops and leave plenty of following distance.
- Give plows space! Stay back three to four car lengths from snow plows.
A safety closure is a precaution taken during inclement weather to reduce the probability of traffic incidents, increased congestion or other safety-related factors. During a safety closure, traffic may be stopped on the interstate, turned around or directed to an exit. Safety closures help decrease delay times, and, above all, keep travelers safe.
Chain and Traction Laws
When weather conditions warrant, CDOT will activate the Traction Law. If weather conditions deteriorate, CDOT will activate Chain Laws for passenger and commercial vehicles. Motorists will be alerted to an active Traction or Chain Law by highway signage, COtrip.org and traffic/roadway condition alerts. For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit codot.gov/travel/winter-driving/tractionlaw. For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit codot.gov/travel/colorado-chain-law. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov.
COtrip.org & COtrip Planner App
If motorists must head out during this winter storm, they are urged to visit COtrip.org and download the COtrip Planner app ahead of time. Motorists are now able to sign up for travel alerts through COtrip.org to see if there are any highway closures or impacts along their favorite routes. The COtrip Planner app also offers a “Trip Planner” feature that allows motorists to map out their routes and receive updates about road closures or incidents along the way. Motorists can turn on the “Hands-Free, Eyes Free” feature to receive these alerts via voice notifications and avoid routes with impacts.
The free COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!
Know Before You Go
Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:
- Road conditions and travel information: COtrip.org
- Download the COtrip Planner app: bit.ly/COtripapp
- Sign up for project or travel alerts: bit.ly/COnewsalerts
- See scheduled construction lane closures: bit.ly/laneclosures
- Connect with @ColoradoDOT on social media: X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram and YouTube