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Old 09-25-2011, 09:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Front Range Driving Conditions

Am planning on driving up to Colorado 2 or 3 times this winter (front wheel drive sedan, Eagle CO FWIW). Looking for advice on what rules are imposed on I-70 under snowstorm conditions? Do they have to close the freeway at all? If so, average how many times a winter? 4WD/snow tires/chains or combinations thereof?

Want to be prepared just in case. Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I recommend snow tires and carry chains but don't really plan on using them. I70 stays open most of the year, but it does close several times over a season too. Maybe 2-4 times on average due to a storm and avalanche danger. The other 20 or so closures is because some damn big rig that jack knifed. The fuel trucks seem to do it more than anyone forcing Haz-mat closures for hours.

Vail Pass also closes quite a bit, maybe more frequently than the Eisenhower tunnel. The amount of fill they used to build the pass on the West side allows the road to freeze over quicker than at other places.

For the record, I just use a FWD vehicle with snow tires. I do keep chains in the trunk and have yet to use them. In 22 years I have never put chains on my vehicle to get to the hill.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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when things are bad they will close the tunnel at loveland pass, but it is rarely closed for more than 12 hours. often what gets that road closed is not even the weather per se, but some asshole driver or trucker who fucked up and got shit fucked in the tunnel. i remember one time last year there was a truck that tipped in the tunnel with hazardous material. weather permitting u can still go around it by using loveland pass, if its not closed - which it does if the weather is real bad.

driving in the snow here is like anywhere if you are driving through the rockies during the winter you should be prepared to drive in up to a foot of snow whatever vehicle you are using. better even than chains are snow tires, but if they are too much an investment, then yea, have chains on hand. also good all season tires make a huge difference to bald or summer tires.

typically, no matter how bad the conditions, only commercial vehicles are REQUIRED BY LAW to chain up at certain points under certain conditions. personal vehicles are given the benefit of the doubt, and sort of drive at your own risk leeway.

colorado dept. of transpo has a good up to date website with alot of cameras along the i70 corridor (when i'm heading up to summit county i will check out various key cameras like genesee, hwy 40 exit [to winter park], the tunnel, etc). it is well maintained with detailed road conditions.

Road Conditions, Speeds, Travel Times, Traffic Cameras, Live Streaming Traffic Cameras, Road Closures and Road Work Information provided by Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) a branch of Colorado Department of Transportation

be careful, people drive like complete madness getting up and down from the slopes here....including me! ---awwww crap...
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
I recommend snow tires and carry chains but don't really plan on using them. I70 stays open most of the year, but it does close several times over a season too. Maybe 2-4 times on average due to a storm and avalanche danger. The other 20 or so closures is because some damn big rig that jack knifed. The fuel trucks seem to do it more than anyone forcing Haz-mat closures for hours.

Vail Pass also closes quite a bit, maybe more frequently than the Eisenhower tunnel. The amount of fill they used to build the pass on the West side allows the road to freeze over quicker than at other places.

For the record, I just use a FWD vehicle with snow tires. I do keep chains in the trunk and have yet to use them. In 22 years I have never put chains on my vehicle to get to the hill.
Hey, thanks. Didn't think about about accident closures and Vail pass. Have had some white knuckle driving moments (ice noob here) around Vail pass in years past... now I understand why.

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Old 09-25-2011, 10:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Definitely do snow tires. Chains are cheap, so why not carry them? It's pretty rare, but we do get R4 and even R5 conditions every few years. Though if they say R5, I'd just find a hotel or place to hang out, because the road is going to close. Those are awful conditions to drive in.

When you hit those conditions, chains are required for R5 and for a FWD vehicle I think they are required for R4. The only other reason is if you get off a plowed road, you might get stuck and need chains to give you the extra traction to get out. Also, throw a snow shovel in your trunk too. You never know when you might need to dig to get out of a place you parked, or slid into...
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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One more vote for the snow tires. They really aren't that expensive but make a huge difference. Cable link chains just to have them in emergencies as well.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
The other 20 or so closures is because some damn big rig that jack knifed. The fuel trucks seem to do it more than anyone forcing Haz-mat closures for hours.

It's because we have to come out empty, and they send us around the pass. Having us go around the pass is completely ridiculous these days.....

They'd rather us go over a way more risky road and heighten our chances of falling off the hill vs just letting us take the easy road and maybe burn up somewhere not over a cliff
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Tires make all the difference. Buy chains if you want but chances are that you'll never need them. I rarely ever see passenger vehicles with chains on anyways. My girlfriends car was a way scary ride in the high country on the other had my old ride ,Honda Civic, (before I bought my WRX) was perfectly at home in even the worst conditions with the right winter tires. Don't try to save money on tires. You get what you pay for! Also cary a shovel and some a bucket of salt. It can get you out of any jam. 4wd vehicles help but a fwd will get you just about anywhere as long as you are a competent driver. Good luck.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milo303 View Post
It's because we have to come out empty, and they send us around the pass. Having us go around the pass is completely ridiculous these days.....

They'd rather us go over a way more risky road and heighten our chances of falling off the hill vs just letting us take the easy road and maybe burn up somewhere not over a cliff
I'm not knocking fuel truck drivers. Both you and wolfie have done it plenty. I believe you know what you are doing. It's just when these trucks go bad, it's really bad, especially in the mountains. I spent almost four hours sitting on I70 east of the Bakerville exit because some fuel truck going West bound up Georgtown hill managed to roll on it's side and spill fuel. Not sure what happened. A vehicle could have cut them off, or the driver just could have not been paying attention. I know that pulling this going up Georgetown hill is pretty damn impressive.

Then you have the lady who was drunk driving the tanker down Floyd Hill. Well she blew herself up, but it closed the highway. I was leaving early enough I caught wind of it on the news and drove up 6 before everyone else decided to do the same. The first four hours of a huge powder day at Winterpark were enjoyed by about 100 people at the resort. Pretty damn fine day actually...
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ban front rangers for a few hours each friday and Saturday and that would help too... lol nevermind, the truckers take care of closing the roads for you guys.
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