DENVER (KDVR) – When roads are shut down in Colorado during a weather event, they can stay closed for hours and sometimes a day or two after storms move through.
Colorado highways can be shut down for any number of reasons. Some of those reasons are more obvious than others.
Portions of Interstate 76 in northeastern Colorado were shut down for hours after the last of the blizzard-like conditions settled.
On Wednesday, strong winds creating snow drifts were still an issue, forcing many 18-wheelers to halt their trips.
New pictures showed drifts with heights topping out between 12 and 15 feet in some places.
Crews were working to clear piles of wind-driven snow from underpasses and segments of highways affected by Tuesday’s blizzard.
Weather conditions in neighboring states, like Nebraska, can also cause a highway shutdown in Colorado.
“So we don’t want to send all that traffic up to Nebraska and have it stopped at the state line. We need to keep the traffic where there is some capacity,” the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Region 4 Communications Manager Jared Fiel said.
The closure forced so many to pull over at a Love’s Travel Stop in Brush that they ran out of spots and had to park along the streets.
One crew that was stranded in Fort Morgan on Tuesday was one from Midland, Texas. The Hot Shot Oilfield workers were trying to get to North Dakota.
“I woke up the next morning and noticed that everything was shut down. So, I stayed stuck,” Israel Leyva of Midland said.
Leyva was racing against the clock to get back to work so that he could return home in time to be with his family for the holidays.
He told FOX31 that now, back roads were his only choice.
“I found a route out… I’m going to see if it works out… just play it by the day to see if I can make it to my destination,” Leyva said.
It is difficult at best to know when CDOT will reopen a road. Trying to figure that out is as tricky as trying to figure out what Mother Nature and Colorado weather will do.
CDOT encourages people to use the CoTrip.org site in addition to their app which tracks, in real-time, when roads open and close.