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Major closures, high volume, poor weather to impact weekend traffic

Traffic Delays

DENVER — 6th Avenue is closed between I-25 and Sheridan Boulevard in Denver until 5:30 a.m. Monday. It’s a major road closure that could impact traffic throughout metro Denver.

CDOT will demolish the Knox Court bridge and Federal Boulevard bridge, and relocate an overhead power line.

The bridge replacement is part of a $98 million project to replace six obsolete bridges on US 6 between Knox Court and I-25, improve traffic movements in the I-25 and US 6 interchange and enhance driver safety by eliminating several traffic weave movements along US 6 between Federal Boulevard and I-25, said a CDOT spokewsoman.

Up to 144,000 vehicles travel along 6th Avenue from I-25 to Sheridan each day.

But this weekend, all those drivers will have to find other ways west.

“As a result, some of the alternate routes, whether it be Colfax, Alameda or Hampden, may have a little bit more congestion. We ask people to plan ahead, look where they can go. And we’ll be able get people there and get them back on after Sheridan,” says Amy Ford, CDOT spokesperson.

But the two-mile shutdown could also add delays for drivers headed up to the high country–where wintery weather, including blowing snow are expected Saturday–up to four inches of it.

“Usually it take two hours from Boulder, a little longer than that. It took me 9 hours to get back,” says snowboarder Spencer Clark, about his trip to Breckenridge last Sunday, when bad weather and a ton of traffic turned I-70 into a parking lot.

He, and other drivers, hope to avoid a repeat this weekend.

“It was just a big traffic jam. A truck did not put chains on and stuff. So we had to sit there for a while,” says Devin Burgin of Fort Collins.

With 80,000 vehicles driving through Eisenhower Tunnel this holiday weekend, more car chaos is possible. Last weekend, about 60,000 vehicles traveled through the tunnel.

During the closure of US 6, east and westbound through traffic can use US 285, I-70 or C-470, while local traffic can use Alameda or Colfax avenues as detour routes.

I-70 to close at Tower Road

Construction is also expected to impact traffic on Interstate 70 over the weekend.

Westbound traffic on the interstate is set to be reduced to one lane from Tower Road to Colfax Avenue at 8 p.m. on Friday. That closure is scheduled to be long lasting — about six months in total — as crews work to demolish and reconstruct the westbound bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad and Smith Road.

During the six months of work, some of the westbound traffic on I-70 in the area will be redirected into eastbound lanes. Speed limits in the area are also set to be reduced from 75 to 55 mph.

CDOT warnings of slow traffic in mountains become reality

Fresh off a nightmarish weekend of travel on I-70 through the high country, the Colorado Department of Transportation was also warning drivers to expect a difficult commute through the mountains again this weekend, with more skiers and snowboarders rushing up the mountain to enjoy the fresh powder.

Light snow in the mountains Friday night coated the highways with ice and delays were long when I-70 closed near the Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass due to numerous accidents. CDOT said delays were up to two hours late Friday.

As early as 12:30 p.m. on Friday, FOX31 Denver photographer Chris Mosher said CDOT officials were already proving to be prophetic. He tweeted that it took him almost three hours to get from Denver to Copper Mountain — a trip that usually takes about and hour and a half — due to heavy traffic along I-70.

“On Feb. 9, (CDOT) relocated 22 vehicles on eastbound I-70 between Silverthorne and Eisenhower Tunnel. Of the 22 vehicles, 19 had bald tires and 18 had in-state plates,” CDOT wrote after a Sunday that saw travel times along the 10-mile drive from Silverthorne to the Eisenhower Tunnel average about three hours.

“At CDOT, we are constantly looking at new ways to better serve the traveling public with better traffic management and maintenance,” CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt said. “But success on I-70 also relies on a partnership with our drivers, who play a big role in helping the roads run smoothly, even doing little things like inspecting your tires for good tread before you leave.”