Rock slide, weather cause I-70 traffic jam
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Denver resident Doug Bertram spent all day Sunday sailing through six inches of fresh powder at Breckenridge and left the resort in high spirits for a trip to Boulder ” until he reached Silverthorne.
“As we came down the hill (from Frisco) we could see that I-70 just looked like a a parking lot, so we stopped in Silverthorne,” Bertram said.
After he and his friend Chris ate dinner and visited with another friend, they looked at CDOT’s road cameras and saw that traffic was moving, or so they thought.
“It took us three and a half hours to get from Silverthorne to the tunnel and most of that movement was after two hours and 45 minutes. We were just inching along at 5 or 10 mph most of the way,” Bertram added.
Mindy Crane, spokesperson for CDOT, said the slow movement wasn’t due to an exorbitant number of cars.
Crane said 28,460 vehicles passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel on Sunday, which is fewer than last year.
“We did have several factors in play over the weekend, the rock slide (in Glenwood Canyon, on Thursday) and the weather conditions,” said Crane.
Summit County received around a foot of snow over the weekend. Several accidents were reported in the area.
A total of 159,747 vehicles passed through the tunnel over the holiday weekend, which is about average, Crane said. CDOT had more than four dozen work crews plowing interstates on Sunday, according to the Associated Press
Still, for Bertram, the wait on the interstate was insult to injury, as he listened to the Denver Broncos lose to Oakland last night.
“It was extremely frustrating listening to the Broncos lose and sitting in a snowstorm in the worst traffic ever,” Bertram said.
The two finally reached the tunnel and drove into the “Antarctic tundra.”
“I’ve never seen the wind blowing like it was at the top,” Bertram said.
“It wasn’t actually snowing, all the old snow was just blowing around.”
“(The weather) doesn’t make you want to come back up to the mountains. The only time you can take advantage of snow is if you live in (the county), otherwise it’s unbearable,” Bertram said.
But Bertram, a graduate student at Denver University, said Sunday’s disastrous drive won’t deter him from spending his free time in Summit County.
“I come up almost every weekend. In fact, I’ve spend four of the last eight days in the mountains,” he said.
Michele Canar was in Summit County over the weekend to visit some friends and left for Boulder at about 2:45 p.m., thinking she would beat the traffic.
She was wrong.
“It took three hours to get to the tunnel, ” Canar said.
Unlike Doug, Michele didn’t have any company for her marathon journey.
“I was talking to my friends on the phone and listening to tapes. I was ready to get out the work computer and start doing work,” Canar said.
“The conditions were terrible. It was super windy and the roads were snowpacked,” said Michele.
Michele said she’s only driven to the mountains a handful of times, but this adventure was the longest and she’s determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I learned my lesson. Next time, leave earlier.”
Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at email@example.com
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