Eisenhower Tunnel traffic numbers tell a stark tale about COVID-19 shutdown | SummitDaily.com
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Eisenhower Tunnel traffic numbers tell a stark tale about COVID-19 shutdown

Pam Boyd
Eagle Valley Enterprise
The Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels pictured Jan. 7. The tunnels have seen a steep decline in traffic since Gov. Jared Polis closed the state’s ski areas.
Liz Copan / ecopan@summitdaily.com

EAGLE — Sometimes numbers really do tell the whole story.

In the days since Gov. Jared Polis shut down the state’s ski resorts to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, there has been an 80% decline in Friday westbound traffic at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels compared with March 2019. Sunday eastbound traffic is down 74% compared with the same time last year. That’s according to data compiled by Margaret Bowes, director of the Interstate 70 coalition.

“We all know the cause,” Bowes said. “Usually, decreasing I-70 congestion is a good thing, but not under this scenario.”

“It is fascinating to see how much traffic our tourism-based economy draws,” she added.

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Personnel at the Colorado Department of Transportation are watching the numbers but aren’t sure what practical insight they can offer. Elise Thatcher, communications officer for the CDOT Northwest Region, said there are many factors at play with the data.

By the numbers

March 2020 traffic at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels compared with March 2019.

Westbound
Friday: down 80%
Saturday: down 73%
Sunday: down 74%

Eastbound
Friday: down 70%
Saturday: down 66%
Sunday: down 74%

“There is less traffic; however, we don’t have enough information to provide an analysis of all the factors contributing to the reduction and by how much,” Thatcher said.

“What we can definitively say is Colorado’s highways are open, including at every state border, unless a road is closed for construction or weather-related safety issues,” Thatcher said. “We are working closely with the commercial freight industry to make sure they’re able to transport food, health care materials and other critical items.”

This story is from EagleValleyEnterprise.com.


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