The Colorado Department of Transportation has a new plan to smooth traffic on Interstate 70, where the Eisenhower Tunnel often clogs on ski weekends.
The Vail Daily reported Friday that CDOT will try a different tactic to smooth eastbound traffic on I-70 between Silverthorne and the Eisenhower Tunnel. That's where traffic clogs worst on Sunday afternoons and evenings as skiers head back to Denver.
Near the tunnel, eastbound traffic is funneled from three lanes to two. At about that spot, the transportation department is working on a system that will move traffic into four lanes when traffic is heavy, using the highway's existing shoulders. The four lanes would have fast-cycling traffic lights like the ones use on some freeway entrance ramps during heavy traffic.
CDOT spokeswoman Stacy Stegman said the new system could replace "metering" at the tunnels. That system stopped traffic on the west side of the tunnels but led to long delays.
"For every minute you delay traffic, it can take between four and eight minutes to get it moving again," Stegman said.
The new system will get its first test next month, just as holiday traffic starts to really build, Stegman said. That first test will use human flaggers and traffic lights.
Wave Dreher, the spokeswoman for AAA Colorado, said holiday travel this year is expected to be at about the levels it reached last year. According to AAA, nearly 650,000 state residents will travel at least 50 miles by car over Thanksgiving.
Read more: CDOT I-70 plan turns two lines into four at Eisenhower Tunnel - The Denver Post CDOT I-70 plan turns two lines into four at Eisenhower Tunnel - The Denver Post