DENVER -- This ski season has seen some pretty intense traffic days on I-70 to and from the mountains. That's why CDOT is considering several new programs to deal with the congestion. One of those projects went into testing Sunday.
The hope is to alleviate the backups by allowing designated buses access to certain shoulder areas on the road at peak times. That way they can bypass the backups.
We caught up with skier Cheryl Young at Loveland and when we told her about the idea. She said, “Anything to alleviate the traffic. That has been a real deterrent. We love skiing but we don't ski nearly as much as we want to because of how bad the traffic is.”
The special allowance for any designated buses would only work when the crawl hits 35 miles per hour or less. There are four areas between the Eisenhower Tunnel to Idaho Springs where the shoulder is ten feet wide or more.
“Using shoulders is obviously something we want to look at from a safety perspective," Amy Ford with CDOT said. "Those shoulders are wide enough in that area to handle that kind of capacity but we wanted to see how it works.”
So why buses? It will take a minimum amount of money to implement the plan and it would mean more professional drivers on the road.
Those drivers will follow the rules of the road and they can hopefully do it safely and then of course the buses can carry large numbers of people and get cars off the road,” CDOT Traffic Engineer Steve Hersey says.
It will be a few more weeks before CDOT has enough data from testing to determine if and how they will implement the program for the rest of the season.