Whether you’re headed to the city or mountains, here’s what you need to know about traveling along Interstate 70 this summer in Colorado.
Mountain travelers should be prepared for extended closures on Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon. The burn areas from the Grizzly Creek Fire have increased the potential for debris flow, mudslides and rockfall, resulting in possible safety closures between Glenwood Springs (Exit 116) and Dotsero (Exit 133).
Editor’s Note: Check CDOT’s Facebook, Twitter (@coloradodot) or cotrip.org for closures and delays on highways and roads across Colorado.
Road crews are in good spirits despite another recent I-70 closure, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) “by how well the canyon landscape weathered over three inches of rain that fell over a 24-hour period.”
LABOR DAY TRAFFIC
Beyond troubles from Mother Nature, travelers should plan to hit the road early Labor Day weekend to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor.
The Friday before Labor Day is one of the busiest travel days of the year. The four-day weekend is less than a month away, which runs from Friday, September 3rd through Monday, September 6th.
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The heaviest traffic along I-70 is typically seen from mid-morning until late afternoon on Friday, and picks up again Saturday from 7:00. a.m. to mid-afternoon. Eastbound I-70 traffic normally peak on Labor Day from mid-morning to late afternoon, especially from Summit County to the Denver metro area, according to CDOT.
Heavy traffic can also be expected in the city on Interstate 25 along the Front Range as well as in the mountains on U.S. 285 into South Park and on U.S. highways 36 and 34 into Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
If a safety closure of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon is anticipated to last longer than an hour, CDOT recommends drivers using the following alternate routes.
Motorists heading westbound should take exit Colorado 9 into Silverthorne, traveling north to U.S. 40 and over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs, then west to Colorado 13, which reenters I-70 at Rifle. Eastbound motorists should reverse the detour.
Motorists detouring south can take U.S. 50 from Grand Junction through Montrose and Gunnison, linking with U.S. 285 back into Denver.
Depending on which route you decide to take, here a great few pitstops for recharging along the way.
Stretch your legs near Salida exploring St. Elmo ghost town or bag Waterdog Lakes off Monarch Pass. Mount Princeton Hot Springs is another great pit stop to unwind in Buena Vista. Grab a quick bite nearby at Brown Dog Coffee Company along Highway 285. They all have outstanding breakfast burritos and delicious sticky buns and pastries!
Take a short little detour off Highway 50 and swing by one of the local wineries in Gunnison for a tasting. Curecanti National Recreation Area and Pappy’s Restaurant and Pub overlooking Blue Mesa Reservoir are just a few other stops to make along Highway 50.
Interstate 70 is popular and well-traveled route, connecting Grand Junction and Denver to a variety of mountain towns including Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, and Breckenridge.
Editor’s Note: Be prepared for unexpected delays. Please visit COtrip.org for more information on recommended detours and the latest road conditions across the state. Travelers can also call 511 or 303-639-1111 if out of state for current information.
This content was originally published here.