Labor Day mountain traffic affects thousands on I-70

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Labor Day weekend traffic brought parts of eastbound Interstate 70 to a standstill Monday as thousands of people headed back to the Denver area from the mountains.

More than 10 miles of off-and-on traffic were reported from the Silverthorne area to near Idaho Springs during the late afternoon and early evening hours. It took many drivers stuck in the crawl more than 30 minutes to go just ten miles.

"We took a picture just because we thought it was unreal how much traffic was coming," Brad Eyre said. "It never ended. It was just steady all the way up the canyon."

Smartphone navigation warned drivers what they were getting into. So too did word of mouth at gas stations along the interstate.

"We anticipated heading back a little bit later in the day, just purely for traffic," said Jonathan Martinez, who was filling his SUV near Silverthorne. "I didn't think it was going to be as bad as I had heard."

Martinez and his family were heading back to Broomfield after a day of fishing at Lake Dillon. What could be a frustrating end to a relaxing weekend didn't get Martinez down.

"We're definitely going to put on some music and enjoy the scenery," Martinez said. "It's beautiful Colorado weather, so I can't complain. It could be worse."

The Colorado Department of Transportation posted constant updates on the heavy traffic throughout the afternoon and evening. At one point, CDOT reported an 85-minute commute from Silverthorne to Denver.

Just before 8 p.m. Monday, traffic improved significantly compared to conditions earlier in the evening.