Traffic will be streaming in and out of the mountains this Labor Day weekend with drivers and travelers in all sorts of vehicles participating in an unofficial farewell to summer, especially along the heavily traveled Interstate 70 mountain corridor.
“It is imperative that drivers take all of the necessary precautions as they travel during these final days of summer,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew, in a news release. “This includes following the posted speed limits, being prepared for more traffic, not driving drunk and not driving distracted. Doing so will ensure a safe and fun Labor Day weekend.”
Starting at noon Friday, CDOT is suspending construction projects to reduce potential traffic delays, the release said, with the exception of emergency operations. Projects will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Heavier-than-normal traffic is expected on Interstate 25 along the Front Range and on I-70 west of Denver. The I-70 traffic will likely be heaviest from mid-morning until late afternoon Friday, and from 7 a.m. to mid-afternoon Saturday, according to CDOT.
As the weekend wraps up, eastbound I-70 traffic will be at its peak on Monday, Labor Day, from mid-morning to late afternoon, especially from Summit County to the Denver metro area.
Last year, more than 183,000 vehicles passed through the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel, both directions, over the four-day weekend, according to CDOT. The heaviest daily, one direction volume through the tunnel in 2020 was 33,485 vehicles eastbound on Labor Day.
This Labor Day weekend drivers going through Glenwood Canyon on I-70 are reminded to plan for additional travel time due to reduced speeds after mudslides, rock and debris damage earlier this summer. One-lane traffic, in each direction, still exists in the canyon in the Blue Gulch area where delays can be expected.
As Colorado motorists fill their vehicle gas tanks for weekend travel, gas prices remain above $3.50 per gallon, according to Gasbuddy.com. On Thursday the average gas price in Denver was $3.569, with $3.546 in Fort Collins and $3.614 in Colorado Springs.
On Tuesday morning another end-of-summer passage comes into play, Colorado 5, the Mount Evans Highway, will close from Summit Lake to the mountain top. The remaining segment, from Echo Lake to Summit Lake, is scheduled to remain open, weather permitting, through October 3.
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