I-70 back open after Friday blizzard creates havoc on roadways
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Leaving Summit County on Friday was pretty much out of the question as every roadway out of the valley was closed for most of the day.
The Colorado Department of Transportation shut down numerous highways because of whiteout conditions and icy and snowpacked roads due to a storm system that settled into the county Friday morning, bringing with it snow and strong wind gusts.
Both lanes of Interstate 70 were closed from Floyd Hill to Vail Pass ” almost 60 miles of roadway ” until the late afternoon, although local traffic between Silverthorne and Copper Mountain was permitted on the interstate all day.
Loveland Pass was also closed, as was the Dillon Dam Road, Highway 91 between Copper and Leadville, Kenosha Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass and Berthoud Pass.
Highway 9 over Hoosier Pass between Breckenridge and Fairplay remained open on Friday, but chains were required on all commercial vehicles.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Tim Maestas said troopers responded to some minor crashes and rollovers on the interstate Friday, but that there were no serious accidents.
“It’s the ground blizzard stuff where you just can’t see, so (the interstate is) just closed down for safety, but (it was) pretty status quo for one of these type of days,” Maestas said.
A handful of Silverthorne police officers also pitched in to help close down the interstate in the morning, then worked to get drivers stranded in Silverthorne to a safe place.
“We’re just trying to make sure people were in parking lots so the roads aren’t a hazard,” Silverthorne Det. Amy Noraka said.
The Silverthorne Recreation Center opened as a Red Cross warming shelter on Friday afternoon to provide a place for people to escape the storm, said front desk attendant Marty Richardson.
Rec center employees set up board games in the lobby to occupy travelers waiting for the interstate to reopen. At 4 p.m., about 15 people were using the shelter, Richardson said.
A report from the Eisenhower Tunnel indicated that 18 inches of snow had fallen since Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service. A winter storm warning was in effect until Friday at midnight. Snowfall is expected to taper off today and winds should begin to subside.
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