Heavy holiday traffic means long delays for travelers

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DENVER -- There was a constant stream of slow-moving traffic in the high country Sunday as people returned home from a holiday weekend in the mountains. Heavy traffic meant delays upward of three hours for some drivers.

When freedom has a birthday, the mountains have a party.

"Thank you God for beautiful, beautiful mountains and this land,” said Susan Lavato, a traveler from Tennessee.

”Found lots of fun things to do. The fireworks were great,” traveler Kristin Hadley said.

But everyone who goes up must also come down.

“Now we’re sitting in traffic,” Hadley said.

“It looks a lot like L.A.,” said Brian Wilson, a traveler from Southern California.

Roy Shany, traveling with his family back down to Denver described the scene: “I see cars crawling.  They are just crawling slow.”

As traffic crept, the Shanys piled back in the family truck.

“It took us four to five hours just to get here and then we have another 30 miles of 5 mph,” Shany said.

The family was ready for Round 2.

“We weren’t expecting that much.  We were expecting, you know, an hour delay, but it’s like three hours now,” Shany said.

Around noon Sunday the Colorado Department of Transportation said the number of cars on eastbound Interstate 70 exceeded the capacity of the interstate that forced 20-minute holds near the Eisenhower Tunnel.

We really had stop and go before the tunnel,” Susan Lovato said.

Not having too much fun,” Wilson said.

For travelers, it meant more quality car time together.

“What did you do to pass the time?  Get on my nerves,” Shany jokingly asked his four kids.

“I just have nine kids with me so its been interesting,” said Lovato, who stopped at a rest area to give the kids a break.

"Horrible.  Don’t go out of town on the weekend of Fourth of July, for sure,” Shany said.    

But like any party, once home and the traffic hangover ends, the planning for next year begins.

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