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
August 18-22, 2017
It is worth noting that heavy traffic is expected this weekend and through Tuesday due to folks traveling to view the eclipse. North/south routes will see the most volume, but I-70 is likely to get some of that traffic as well. CDOT offers these recommendations for eclipse travelers.
Friday Westbound: Traffic is possible between 1:00 and 6:30 p.m.
Saturday Westbound: Plan for congestion between 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
There might be delays in the 3:00-5:00 p.m. timeframe.
Expect high volumes and delays from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Based on historical data, travelers might experience 45 minutes extra travel time from Silverthorne to C-470 during this timeframe. The worst of the congestion will occur in the mid to late afternoon.
Monday & Tuesday: If you are traveling to witness the eclipse, check out this CDOT eclipe communication.
*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
(mid-June through mid-September)
Friday Westbound– 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 westbound – traffic is well-distributed westbound on weekend mornings. The exception to this is the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend where up to 20 minute delays may occur from 10:00 am-3:00 pm.
Saturday eastbound- Saturday eastbound traffic tends to be much lower in volume than Sunday. It is spread out enough that, barring an accident, there is not much congestion.
Sunday eastbound – According to historical data, in June/July the traffic starts to build between Noon and 1:00 pm, but in August the pattern is for congestion to start by 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 sometimes 7:00-8:00 p.m. 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 minimal congestion.
Metering - Traffic metering goes into effect during very high volume times at the Johnson/Eisenhower Tunnels. This process involves controlling the flow of traffic eastbound into the Eisenhower Tunnel, so traffic does not back up in the tunnel. It is done for safety reasons so emergency vehicles can have access to the tunnel in case of an accident, a fire, etc.
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.
Check one of CDOT’s Real Time Info resources and plan accordingly and avoid the jam!