Change in Traffic & Weather
Look Up, Look Down In Leadville Today
Keeping one eye to the skies and another on the roads is the order of the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend in Leadville Today. As many across Lake County enjoyed near-perfect weather conditions with bluebird skies and warm temperatures for the last official weekend of Summer 2020, others across the state and region continue to battle devastating wildfires. But by Labor Day Monday that smoke signal had arrived in the form of thick, heavy smoke that had many asking, “Where’s the smoke coming from?”
First, as of this morning, there are no fires in Lake County. Second, there are a couple burning in the state including the over-the-pass Grizzly Creek Fire and the Cameron Peak Fire. And lastly, due to jet stream flows, shifting wind patterns and the massive wildfires in California and Utah, it’s anticipated that the haze will continue to settle into the area as the west sends plumes of smoke into the atmosphere.
The shining light is that according to the weather forecasted tonight’s cold front should bring with it precipitation, likely in the form of snow at 10,000 feet. Not only will that help to clear the air but bring in some moisture, possibly anywhere from 6-16″ of snow in the mountains. Also, be advised that Lake County overnight temps could dip into the teens, so bring those plants/flowers in for a few days.
It looks like the system is expected to hang around a bit longer than initially expected with daytime temperatures hovering in the high 40s throughout the week. And for those who have been asking if the aspens are starting to turn. As usual, there are a variety of opinions about when the colors will transition to fall gold and how long the show will last. While only Mother Nature knows for sure, her autumnal beauty is beginning to arrive in the high county and warmer temperatures are expected to return for next weekend.
Leadville Today will be reporting the weather over the next several days on its social platforms, join the conversation there. #PhotoShare #VideoShare
Indy Pass To See Closures for Rock Work
The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin rockfall safety work starting today (9/8/2020) on Independence Pass (CO 82), requiring a daytime lane closure with alternating traffic from mileposts 59 to 62. The closure is necessary for the motorists’ safety as crews repair mitigation systems designed to prevent rockfall from impacting the highway. There will be a few days of full closures for rockfall mitigation in late September and early to mid-October.
Schedule Thru October
- One lane will be closed with alternating traffic on the pass, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 11. Daytime work will continue Monday through Friday over the month of September for the work.
- A full closure of the pass is planned for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30, and possibly Thursday, Oct. 1 for hydromulching. This a water and wood-based mulch that helps stabilize the slopes.
- Full weekday closures are planned in early and mid-October as a helicopter will be used to install rock netting.
- The schedule is subject to change due to weather and other factors.
Motorists are urged to use alternate routes during single lane and full closures. Oversize and overweight vehicles are strictly prohibited from using the pass at any time due to narrow and winding roads and steep inclines. Absolutely no vehicles over 35 feet in length may use the pass at any time.
Motorists should plan for delays, drive with extra caution, and do not speed. They should also watch for workers, avoid using mobile devices while driving, allow ample space behind the vehicle ahead, and be patient. For the latest road condition information go to www.cotrip.org.
Leadville Paving Begins, Expects Delays
If the regular cone zone season doesn’t create enough frustration and safety concerns for both the traveling public and road crews, add to that a pandemic and historic wildfires forcing on-and-off closures of major highways and flash flood warnings, and well, it’s easy to “give ‘em a brake.” So please do so if you plan on going anywhere other than a trip around your block (unless of course, you live in West Park, where that is even challenging these days!)
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and prime contractor, United Companies’ most recent schedule change allotted for the paving on Highway 24 and Harrison Ave to begin today, September 9. Of course, adverse weather and other factors could change that as had “the availability of supplies and increased traffic due to the I-70 closure,” most recently according to CDOT.
The latest plan called for US 24 to be paved first with the approaches (side street intersections) done after. Motorists should expect shoulder closures, one-lane closures, and short-term side street intersection closures. The project is scheduled to conclude at the end of October.
Eisenhower Expects Closures for Paving Thru October
Last week #CDOT also began paving work at the I-70 Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel. Travelers should be advised of overnight closures of the tunnel through early October. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, “Crews have been working through the summer on road repairs in the tunnel and are now ready to mill and pave the surface which is critically needed to improve safety. The tunnel will be open, but all traffic will travel through one tunnel bore while the other bore is closed for paving operations. Ten to fifteen-minute travel delays are expected from 10 p.m. to midnight with minor delays for the rest of the nighttime hours.” Here are the details concerning travel impacts:
- The eastbound tunnel will close overnight Monday – Thursday, 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. from August 31 to September 3 and from September 8 to 18. Traffic will be detoured through the westbound tunnel. No planned closures over the Labor Day weekend, September 4 to 7.
- Once the eastbound side is paved, the westbound tunnel will close overnight for paving September 21 to October 8. Traffic will be detoured through the eastbound tunnel.
- Arrangements have been made to ensure emergency vehicles will be able to get through quickly during the closures.
The schedules above could change depending on the weather and other factors. It’s best that overnight travelers check cotrip.org for the latest information on road work, closures and other conditions.