Travel Forecast & Tips
I-70 is congestion free the majority of the time and traffic is quite predictable, weather and accidents withstanding. Plan to avoid peak travel times, and enjoy a delay-free trip along I-70. Our weekend travel forecast is updated every Thursday afternoon.
Weekend Travel Forecast
September 23-25, 2016
This is the weekend to catch the peak leaf colors! This could also be the first weekend of wintery driving conditions. Snow is possible at the higher elevations such as Loveland Pass and up at the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel. Have you done the quarter test on your tires recently?
Friday WB –Delays are possible between Noon and 5:30 p.m. in the Floyd Hill to Idaho Springs area.
Saturday WB – Last year there were delays in the Floyd Hill area during the 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. timeframe, with a peak delay of 25 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Saturday EB – No volume-related delays are anticipated.
Sunday EB - Afternoon eastbound slowing could begin around Noon and continue until approximately 8:00 p.m. On this Sunday last year there were 55 minutes of delay between 3:00-6:00 p.m., but the new Mountain Express Lane should result in improved travel times.
*The GoI70.com Travel Forecast is based on historical data, along with an estimation of how weather, construction, public events and other factors might impact travel.
Tips for I-70 mountain travel
- Avoid the Peak Travel Times. If heading eastbound on Saturday or Sunday, plan to leave the mountains after 7:00 p.m. Check the weekend and holiday Travel Forecast.
- Check the road and traffic conditions before you travel.
- Check out the Peak Time Deals local businesses offer to help you avoid peak travel times.
- Spend a Sunday night in the mountains and head to work or school early Monday morning.
- Prepare for I-70 mountain driving conditions. Understand the Traction & Chain Laws.
- Create or join a carpool.
- Consider taking a bus or van to the mountains and leave the driving to someone else.
Summer Traffic Patterns
The I-70 mountain corridor sees higher traffic volumes in the summer than it does in the winter. Some weekend congestion can be expected from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and the information below can help you plan your trip around that traffic. September weekends see a similar pattern of congestion, but delays are not as significant.
Friday WB– There are occasionally moderate delays heading westbound on Friday evenings. Traffic may build between 2:00-3:00 p.m., peak around 4:00 p.m., and end between 6:00-7:00 p.m. These delays might mean an added 20 minutes to a trip from Golden to Vail.
Saturday and Sunday WB – traffic is well-distributed westbound on weekend mornings. The exception to this is the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend where moderate delays may occur from 10:00 am-3:00 pm.
Saturday EB- Saturday eastbound traffic tends to be much lower in volume than Sunday. It is usually spread out enough that, barring an accident, there is not much congestion.
Sunday EB – According to historical data, eastbound traffic starts to build around 11:00 a.m. The peak of traffic is consistently at 4:00 pm all summer long. With folks trying to enjoy every bit of daylight in the mountains, the traffic typically doesn’t diminish until approximately 7:00-8:00 p.m. To avoid the traffic consider staying in the mountains for dinner, or spend Sunday night and head back to the Front Range early Monday morning.
Holiday Weekends – when a national holiday falls on a Monday, you can count on Monday afternoon EB traffic to mimic a typical Sunday pattern, but with potentially more volume. On the flip side, the Sunday of holiday weekends tends to have far less than normal congestion.
Safety Metering – Safety metering at the Eisenhower Tunnel goes into effect during high volume times. This process controls the flow of traffic eastbound into the Eisenhower Tunnel, so traffic does not back up in the tunnel. It is a safety, not a traffic control, measure. Expect delays when metering is in effect.
Weather- In the summer, weather plays a larger factor in traveler behavior. If rain showers move in early in the day, expect drivers to head back to the Front Range early as well.
Before you travel, check one of CDOT’s Real Time Info resources to see the current status of I-70!