Tunnel Safety Metering may be implemented along the I-70 mountain corridor prior to the Eisenhower Tunnel during peak travel times along I-70 eastbound. This type of metering is used sparingly in this area but when implemented, it is done so for safety reasons. Due to the lack of shoulders and pull offs inside the tunnel, CDOT is unable to allow backups inside the tunnel. Traffic must remain moving throughout the entire tunnel which is nearly 1.7 miles long. Should an emergency occur within the tunnel in stopped traffic, emergency vehicles would not be able to maneuver inside the tunnel or in the immediate tunnel vicinity. When stop & go traffic congestion on I-70 east of the tunnel threatens to back traffic into the tunnel, Tunnel Safety Metering is put into effect. Alternating red and green traffic lights keep traffic moving eastbound through the tunnel at a consistent rate, while allowing the congestion on the east side of the tunnel to dissipate.
Ramp metering is a different type of metering and is used along US 40 to relieve the congestion along I-70 eastbound during peak travel times. The delays travelers experience on US 40 prior to entering I-70 helps keep their overall delay shorter by not overwhelming I-70 with so many vehicles that delays grow so large that travel times won’t recover until late at night. US 40 traffic can add over 800 vehicles per hour to I-70 from 2 pm. through 6 p.m. on weekends and Holidays. Travelers are encouraged to take advantage of peak hour dining and lodging deals to avoid long delays.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to encourage mountain visitors to “Change Your Peak Time” when traveling back to Denver, by skipping the rush between 1p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Instead travelers can “Press Play, Avoid Delay” by spending an extra hour having fun in the mountains instead of spending an extra hour in peak traffic. CDOT has partnered with the I-70 Coalition, a consortium representing the mountain communities and resorts, to give travel tips and travel forecasts, and to offer discounts, deals and incentives for travelers interested in avoiding traffic by staying in the mountains for an extra hour or two. Peak Time Deals at www.goi70.com are updated regularly, and list locations of restaurants, entertainment options and retailers along the I-70 corridor offering weekend discounts. In addition to deals offered near resorts, Idaho Springs and Georgetown also offer incentives for travelers who want to leave early to beat the peak traffic, or who have already hit the road but would like to take a break from traffic on their way home. We encourage motorists to take advantage of these offers and to change their travel times in order to take advantage of all that our mountain towns have to offer.
CDOT encourages all drivers using this stretch of roadway to anticipate and prepare their vehicles for a winter storm. Stocking your vehicle with essentials like water, blankets, windshield wiper fluid, hand warmers and nonperishable food items is highly encouraged. Various options for vehicle preparedness is encouraged along I-70, including but not limited to, four-wheel drive during appropriate conditions and snow socks for passenger vehicles. Heavy traffic and winter driving conditions as well as vehicles unable to maneuver through icy and snow packed conditions all aide in delays along this corridor in the winter.