i70 mountain travel tips

With the season nearly here, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to get to the powder paradise of Breckenridge. As most of you already know, traveling on i70 during the winter is never an easy task. This year there are new traffic laws regarding traction and tire requirements. Here are helpful tips to save money and potential damages to yourself and vehicle.

Tire Safety

Worn tires cannot grip the road and can be extremely hazardous – think of tires as your lifeline in a car; the few square inches of rubber contacting the pavement is all that is between you and potential trouble.

Did you know…?

  • At 50 MPH on a wet road, worn tires need 130 feet to stop – new tires only need 85 feet. That’s a difference of 3.5 car lengths!
  • In one day last winter, CDOT assisted 22 vehicles that spun out and blocked traffic or caused an accident- 19 out of those 22 had bald tires.

Get a Discount on Tires!

Make sure your tires are winter ready! CDOT has teamed up with statewide and local tire shops to provide discounts on a set of new tires.

Know if you need new tires? Take the Quarter Test!

quarter

  • Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first
  • If the top of George’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK – do this test at multiple points around each tire
  • If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire, you need new tires

If you are caught without snow tires in a personal vehicle, the fine is $132.00

If you cause an incident, without snow tires in a personal vehicle, the fine is $656.00

Traction Law Definition:

Chains, alternative traction devices (ATDs), snow tires, or 4-wheel drive required for all passenger vehicles

*This information is provided by Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol

Tips for I-70 Mountain Travel

Avoid the Peak Travel Times. If heading eastbound on Saturday or Sunday, plan to leave the mountains after 7:00 p.m. Check the weekend and holiday Travel Forecast. Check the road and traffic conditions before you travel. Check out the Peak Time Deals local businesses offer to help you avoid peak travel times. Spend a Sunday night in the mountains and head to work or school early Monday morning. Prepare for I-70 mountain driving conditions. Create or join a carpool. Consider taking a bus or van to the mountains and leave the driving to someone else. Learn more about changing your peak time on blog.breckenridge.com!

Directions to Breckenridge

From Denver International Airport (DEN):
Breckenridge is 104 miles (166km) from Denver International Airport. Take Interstate 70 west to exit 203. Continue south on HWY 9 to Breckenridge.

From Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE):
Breckenridge is approximately 63 miles (102km) from Eagle Airport. Take Interstate 70 east to Frisco (exit 203). Turn right onto HWY 9 and go south 9 miles to Breckenridge.

From Colorado Springs Airport (COS):
Breckenridge is 110 miles (178km) from Colorado Springs Airport. Take HWY 24 west. At Hartsel, take HWY 9 north approximately 33 miles to Breckenridge.

Winter Traffic Patterns (October through April)

Friday Westbound – Light to moderate traffic is likely from about 4:00-9:00 p.m.

Saturday Westbound – Traffic can be expected from about 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with the peak traffic occurring around 8:00 a.m.

Sunday Westbound – Sunday morning WB traffic is consistently lighter than Saturday morning, and sometimes non-existent. To play it safe, avoid the 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. timeframe.

Saturday Eastbound – Traffic typically builds around 2:00 p.m., peaks around 4:00-5:00 and drops dramatically after 7:00 p.m. Expect congestion.

Sunday Eastbound – I-70 starts to fill up earlier than it does on Saturday, as early as 1:00 p.m. Traffic peaks around 4:00-5:00 and drops off soon after 7:00 pm. Expect heavy traffic.

This Travel Forecast is based on historical traffic data. Please note that weather, road conditions and accidents are impossible to predict and can have significant impacts on I-70 travel.

Holiday Weekends – when a national holiday falls on a Monday, you can count on Monday afternoon eastbound traffic to mimic a typical Sunday pattern, but with potentially more volume. On the flip side, the Sunday of holiday weekends tends to have minimal congestion, making it an ideal day to travel.

Other factors: Metering – Traffic metering goes into effect during very high volume times and can occur at multiple I-70 eastbound on-ramps and/or on the Eisenhower Johnson Tunnel eastbound approach. Metering controls the flow of traffic eastbound towards the Eisenhower Tunnel so traffic does not back up in the tunnel, causing potential safety issues.

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