How to avoid I-70 traffic on MLK weekend |

How to avoid I-70 traffic on MLK weekend

President’s Day ski traffic backed up on the on ramp to I-70 eastbound at US Hwy 40 in Empire, Colo. on Monday, February 17, 2014. While President’s Day historically sees the most I-70 ski traffic, MLK weekend comes in at a close second.
Cyrus McCrimmon / The Denver Post

Last year, 28,151 cars passed westbound through the Eisenhower Tunnel on Friday of MLK weekend and 26,642 the next day. Eastbound traffic through the Johnson Tunnel numbered 26,698 vehicles on Sunday and 26,334 the next day. The highest concentration of the weekend occurred from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. on Monday, when eastbound traffic exceeded 2,900 vehicles per hour. That’s almost 50 per minute.

With that in mind, here is some advice to limit the aggravation.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it’s best to hit the Morrison exit by 6:30 a.m, which is the rule of thumb for weekend ski traffic, generally.

“If you get through Golden around 6:30, that would put you to Idaho Springs right before 7 o’clock, and that would help significantly,” said CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson. “We start seeing the backups really start building after 6:30 going westbound.”

Friday westbound ski traffic on four-day holiday weekends tends to peak in the middle of the afternoon and can run heavy well into the evening. Westbound traffic on Friday should be considerably lighter in the morning than in the afternoon and evening, based on an analysis of vehicle counts last year at the tunnel.

Read more via The Denver Post.

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