CDOT preparing for busy holiday travel weekend

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GOLDEN, Colo. – Are you headed to the High Country for the long holiday weekend? You’re not alone.

The Colorado Department of Transportation predicts this weekend will be the second busiest for ski traffic all year. More than 28,000 vehicles are predicted to pass westbound through the Eisenhower Tunnel on Friday alone.

That driving could be dangerous because of a snowstorm and strong winds Friday.

CDOT’s traffic management center in Golden is preparing for it now.

It’ll be fully staffed this weekend, with five to eight people monitoring the live feeds from up to nearly 1,000 cameras and 96 weather monitoring stations.

“We’ll be watching for things that create turbulence in the traffic flow,” said the center’s manager Rod Mead. “Everything from debris on the highway to signal timing coming off entrant ramps.”

New technology is also helping CDOT know where there could be trouble spots.

The department’s computers can now tap into information from Waze, Google and smart cars themselves.

Plus, there are lasers that can detect when a highway starts to get slick.

“It actually can detect when moisture and freezing can occur on that road surface,” Mead said.

The potential problems for Friday aren’t just in the High Country.

Denver and the metro area could see visibility issues because of strong winds and pollution.

“As soon as we start getting those high winds, we start getting dust clouds and pollution moving off of construction zones that could impact traffic locally,” Mead said. “So it’s not just the big rigs, but everyone else traveling out there too could see some visibility issues.”

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