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.
Holiday Travel Forecast
January 13-16, 2017
The mountains are experiencing historic snowfall and skiers are going to want a piece of it this weekend. Throw in the MLK holiday and the potential for more snow on Friday and Sunday, and you will want to be strategic with your I-70 travel this weekend!
GoI70.com is here to help, so below is what you can expect for I-70 travel:
Friday WB - Slowing is possible from about 4:00-8:00 p.m. Snow is forecasted for west of Eisenhower Tunnel.
Saturday WB - Heavy traffic is likely from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with the peak occurring right around 8:00 a.m. Last year, this traffic added one hour to the travel time from Denver to Silverthorne.
Saturday EB- Traffic is possible between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., but if the Mountain Express Lane opens, delays shouldn’t be too significant.
Sunday WB - Sunday morning WB traffic is typically much lighter than Saturday morning, but plan for traffic between 7:00 and 11:00 a.m. Last year, there were 40 minute delays around 8:00 a.m.
Sunday EB – Snow is forecasted for the I-70 corridor from the foothills to Vail, so plan for a longer trip. It is best to avoid the 1:30-7:00 p.m. timeframe and check CoTrip.org before you travel.
Monday, MLK Holiday, WB – Last year, traffic volume resulted in 30 extra minutes travel time between 6:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Monday, MLK Holiday, EB- This day will offer up the typical Sunday traffic pattern and last year there were 40 minute delays. Expect lots of company on the road, and avoid the 1:30-7:00 p.m. timeframe. Check CoTrip.org before you travel.
*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.
Winter Traffic Patterns
Every Thursday, GoI70.com posts a travel forecast specific to the coming weekend, but below is the typical winter traffic pattern.
Friday WB– There are occasionally moderate delays heading westbound in the 3:30-8:00 p.m. timeframe.
Saturday WB– If you want to avoid traffic, plan to leave the Front Range by 6:00 a.m. sharp. Traffic is consistently at its worst right around 8:00 a.m. resulting in up to one hour of additional travel time. Speeds return to normal soon after Noon.
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 WB – Traffic due to volume is not typically an issue westbound on Sunday mornings.
Sunday EB – According to historical data, eastbound traffic starts to build around Noon. The peak of traffic occurs in the 3:00-6:00 p.m. timeframe. The Mountain Express Lane has alleviated some of the eastbound congestion, but travelers will still experience delays most afternoons. 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. GoI70.com Peak Time Deals provide incentives to avoid the peak travel times!
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 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- Obviously, winter weather will result in slower speeds. And all it takes is one minor “fender bender” to snarl traffic for hours. Please be sure your tires are winter-ready, and take it slow.
Before you travel, check one of CDOT’s Real Time Info resources to see the current status of I-70!