DENVER – Problems have plagued Interstate 70’s traffic flow for years, especially ski traffic throughout the season. The new toll lane hasn’t been open long enough for to see any notable change.
In an ongoing effort to improve the travel experience, the House gave vice-vote approval Monday to Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush’s bill to reduce road closures and delays on the mountain corridor of Interstate 70.
“This bill is about economic competitiveness and especially about public safety,” Rep. Mitsch Bush told the House.
HB16-1039, also sponsored by Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, states that motorists must have adequate tires or chains or alternate traction devices on their vehicles from Oct. 1 to May 15 between Dotsero and Morrison on I-70.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has emphasized these conditions to drivers, but they can’t legally do anything more than suggest the requirements at this time.
State officials have routinely commented on the safety issues during those occasions when traffic comes to a standstill. It’s difficult for emergency crews to reach accidents, and it’s difficult for crews to reach, remove, and clear accident scenes.
Monday’s news release from House Democrats adds that “the state suffers an estimated $800,000 economic loss for every hour that I-70 is closed, giving stuck-in-traffic visitors plenty of time to think about heading to some other state for their next ski vacation and victimizing adequately equipped Colorado drivers who are commuting to their jobs.”
The bill is proposed to limit the safety concerns, economic loss and improve the travel experience. After a recorded vote expected on Tuesday, the bill will go to the Senate.