Bill would require chains or AWD plus good tires on I-70 all winter long

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DENVER — Lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make it a requirement for drivers to have traction equipment and good tire tread at all times while driving on Interstate 70 in the from September to May — even when conditions are dry.

The tougher traction laws would be enforced for drivers on the busy interstate between Morrison and Dotsero.

Under current law, drivers must have traction equipment along Interstate 70 when the Colorado Department of Transportation makes the judgment call on snow and ice on the highway.

But the new bill would make it mandatory for drivers to have traction equipment such as chains or four-wheel drive as well as adequate tread on tires from Sept. 1 to May 31.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, says the travel nightmare on I-70 during snowstorms is hurting his town’s economy and other mountain towns because it affects tourism.

Plus, Roberts said current laws aren’t enough considering the massive shutdowns and spinouts on I-70 during storms. He said it leaves drivers ill-prepared when a storm rolls in and they get caught off-guard.

Roberts said the proposed bill has the full support of CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol and rental car companies.

“People are really getting behind this,” he said. “It’s time to have this higher restriction in place so we can reduce traffic.”

Roberts said conditions deteriorate quickly and he feels like only requiring traction equipment when weather hits doesn’t guarantee people are prepared.

The bill was introduced in February and has bipartisan support.

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