CDOT Improvements to I-70, Paired with Driver Awareness, Reduced Crashes and Delays This Winter
STATEWIDE — Through a three-fold strategy this winter, CDOT has confirmed that injury, fatal crashes and crashes due to weather were reduced this winter on the I-70 Mountain Corridor from Frisco to C-470, and that unplanned closure times and eastbound delays were also reduced.
Specifically, CDOT’s improvements to the I-70 winter drive:
- Reduced injury and fatal crashes by 35 percent, and weather related crashes by 46 percent
- Reduced unplanned closure time by 16 percent
- Reduced number of hours of eastbound delay longer than 75 minutes by 26 percent
Recognizing that Mountain Corridor congestion costs the state $1 billion per year, CDOT embarked on improvements to the I-70 corridor by focusing on three different areas: infrastructure, operations and public education.
- Infrastructure — completed the east and westbound Twin Tunnels widening, the first improvements along the corridor in 40 years
- Operations — invested $8 million to deploy strategies such as adding plow drivers, implementing snowplow escorts on the Eisenhower Tunnel approach, and metering traffic coming onto I-70 at key locations
- Public Education — launched Change Your Peak Drive, an extensive public education campaign, and coordinated with the I-70 Coalition and ski resorts to educate the public on the importance of having good tires, driving safely around plows, traveling during off-peak times, getting information from CDOT resources such as Mountain Travel Radio and carpooling
“We were pleased that the strategies we have and continue to implement are making a difference in the I-70 experience for all travelers,” said Ryan Rice, Director of Transportation Systems Management and Operation for CDOT. “By improving our operations and educating the public on how they can stay safe during their drive, we can save lives AND reduce the frustrations travelers experience during a trip in the mountains.”
In fact, I-70 mountain travelers played an important part in making the drive to and from the mountains safer, faster and better. After the Change Your Peak Drivecampaign ended for the season, National Research Center (NRC) conducted an extensive public survey and found that:
- 76 percent of I-70 travelers polled had checked their tires during the winter to see if they had adequate tread, and 46 percent purchased new tires
- 62 percent of I-70 travelers gained awareness on how to drive safely near CDOT’s snow plows, and 41 percent indicated they changed how they drove around plows this winter because of the Bow to the Plow PSAs
- 72 percent of I-70 winter travelers indicated they were aware of the Move It Law
- 61 percent of I-70 travelers said they generally drove with family or friends, thereby reducing the number of cars on the road.
“An accident that takes just 10 minutes to clear can delay traffic up to one hour,” said Rice. “Our partnership with the Colorado State Patrol helped to reduce the impacts accidents had on the corridor significantly this year. And drivers also played their part. By checking your tires, moving your car after an accident, driving safely around plows and carpooling, you, the I-70 weekend warriors, helped improve I-70 this winter.
Confirming that I-70 road and traffic information is in demand, a strong majority of respondents to the survey indicated they appreciate getting information about real time road conditions (89 percent) and current construction projects (85 percent) before and during their drive on the I-70 Mountain Corridor. In response to this, CDOT will continue its Mountain Travel Radio online streaming to inform motorists with the most up-to-date and accurate information.
NRC’s survey of I-70 Winter Travelers assessed I-70 corridor users’ perceptions of CDOT’s I-70 improvements and winter strategies. Participants were recruited through the help of partner organizations, including resorts and the I-70 Coalition, mountain communities and CDOT’s own social media outlets. With 1,623 fully completed and 912 partially completed surveys, the results are believed to be strongly representative of the overall population of I-70 weekend travelers.
CDOT’s Change Your Peak Drive campaign works to improve the I-70 Mountain Corridor by encouraging mountain travelers to change not only the time they drive, but also how they drive. Through public education and strategic partnerships, CDOT works to give motorists the tools they need to be winter ready and know the resources they have for I-70 information. To learn more about the campaign and the strategies CDOT implements along the corridor, visit winter.codot.gov.