Labor Day weekend tunnel numbers are slightly down |

Labor Day weekend tunnel numbers are slightly down

summit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – Labor Day weekend in Summit County is known for two things – fun in the sun and sluggish, high-volume Interstate-70 traffic. But despite plenty of cars and pedestrians in the High Country this past weekend, Eisenhower and Johnson Memorial Tunnel Labor Day weekend numbers were down.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said 164,535 vehicles used the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels over the four-day weekend (Friday to Monday) – 8,304 less vehicles than the 2009 count of 172,839 vehicles.

According to CDOT, 2010 traffic counts are somewhat comparable to 2008 numbers – 164,535 in 2010 to 166,535 in 2008. And counts haven’t been lower since 2005 – 153,605.

Though Stegman wasn’t sure why there was such a significant drop, she said it could be due to the economy – that people simply aren’t traveling yet, or that schools are starting earlier than in previous years.

“It’s hard to say,” she said.

To break it down, this past weekend saw the following numbers through the tunnel – 44,014 on Friday, 39,859 on Saturday, 39,147 on Sunday, and 41,515 on Monday.

Last year, traffic spiked to 46,551 cars on Friday, and dipped down to 41,881 cars on Saturday and 40,106 cars on Sunday. The number of cars through the tunnel then climbed up to 44,301 cars on Monday.

The numbers meant little to those stuck in the traffic Monday, though, when it took nearly two hours to get from Frisco just to Idaho Springs.

What locals are saying

Despite a dip in traffic numbers, locals are reporting steady weekend numbers in Summit County.

“We had at least normal bike rentals,” said Rebel Sports manager Tim Bruns.

And Frisco’s Information Center specialist Tom Kusleika said traffic into his location was definitely steady.

“We had around 300 (people) in on both Saturday and Sunday,” Kusleika said. “That’s not peak-of-summer busy like the Fourth of July, but it’s solid numbers.”

Kusleika added that visitors were asking him for pointers on Labor Day weekend events, like Oktoberfest and Copper Country Festival.

They also wanted to know where to go for recreation and top places to eat.

“It was a real steady weekend,” he said. “Sunday, it was wall-to-wall people. Monday, of course, the Interstate was busy.”

SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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