Winter Weather Warrants New Rules for I-70
Do you regularly commute over Vail Pass? Have you been caught up in the new “Traction Law,” requiring motorists to have certain snow tires and/or chains under certain weather conditions? Welcome to the new I-70 Winter Warningland.
This winter, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced several travel programs impacting I-70 motorists. While much of the information will be easily made available to tourists and the trucking industry, those who live along the I-70 Corridor will also be impacted and need to know how best to manage their travel over the winter months.
Two new laws will be in effect this winter: Traction Law (Code 15) requiring motorists to have snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M/S) designation or 4-wheel drive. All tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch of tread. This law will be implemented by CDOT if weather conditions require it.
The Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) will also be used during severe winter storms. CDOT will implement the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law prior to closing the highway. Chains or an alternate traction device SUCH AS AN AUTO SOCK will be required for travel on I-70 if Code 16 is implemented.
Motorists driving with inadequate equipment may be fined.
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I-70 Express Lane May Ease the Pain, At A Price
Also new this season is the I-70 Mountain Express lane which runs eastbound for 13 miles from Empire through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels in Idaho Springs. The cost to use this lane will vary depending on traffic flow. Tolls will be collected using transponders, stickers, or license plates. If you plan to use this lane you may want to set up an account and get either a sticker/tag or a transponder.
- Express toll accounts and passes can be ordered at www.expresstoll.com.
- Express toll Sticker tags are good for all state express toll highway lanes in Colorado
- Transponders (which can be set to express or HOV) will work for all toll type lanes in Colorado. The transponder costs $15.00
- This express lane is expected to operate 73 days a year, during periods of peak travel only (weekends & holidays).
- The express lane is available to passenger type vehicles. No trucks or vehicles with trailers will be permitted.
- Tolls are collected electronically or through your license plate. License plate tolling will be close to double that of the stickers or transponders.
- No vehicles (except emergency vehicles) will use the express lanes for free.
You can be best informed of expected traffic conditions by checking the following:
- Mountain Travel Radio on www.cotrip.org or www.goI70.com
- CDOT Mobile ap for your phone
- Mountain Express lane alerts – sign up.