CDOT encourages I-70 motorists to travel at off-peak hours

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Mountain traffic along the I-70 corridor is nothing new. But, with substantial snowfalls in the past few weeks, more and more people are hitting the slopes, which means more traffic on the roads.

The Colorado Department of Transportation launched a new campaign called Change Your Peak Time to help ease some of these weekend traffic woes.

The initiative asked motorists to avoid driving along the mountain corridor from 1 to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

CDOT said the hope is to avoid the all too familiar sight of a sea of red brake lights.

Traveler Wendy Berhman said, “If you’re going up for just the day, you’re spending more time on the road, then on the slopes.”

Ryan Whitaker said, two weekends ago, he and his son spent more than six hours trying to get to their home in Littleton.

“There were people going to the bathroom on the side of the road, it was mayhem, pandemonium, chaos,” he said.

Still, Whitaker said he can’t wait to leave the High Country after 7 p.m.

“Most of the time you want to get home, get back, get ready for the week, so you just got to get out of here,” he added.

“We want to head down early enough to get home and put the kids to bed,” said Berhman.

But, plenty of folks heeded CDOT’s advice and stayed in the mountains a bit longer to avoid the traffic.

“We’re going to go use our friend’s hot tub and hang out a little bit,” Schuyler Coppleklock said.

Others, like Kettner Rosenlof, prepared in the event they do get stuck.

“To be honest, snowboarding is worth it," said Rosenlof. "We’re here at the gas station to grab some snacks and stuff.”

CDOT expected another 30,000 drivers to travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel on Sunday, but, since many avoided the peak time, it was smooth sailing.

In addition to metering at Silverthorne and Frisco, CDOT said it will also conduct wave escorts if weather mandates it.

Colorado State Patrol will essentially lead waves of drivers through the Eisenhower Tunnel without having to stop and deal with traction issues, thus eliminating accidents and skid-outs, said CDOT.

Though, CDOT did not have to do wave escorts Sunday.

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