Weather creates treacherous driving
SUMMIT COUNTY – High winds, blowing snow and whiteout conditions on Thursday made a mess of Summit County’s roads and highways. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) responded to about a dozen accidents on Interstate 70, mostly for vehicles sliding out or getting stuck in the snow, said CSP Sgt. Martin Petrik. Summit County welcomed between 1 and 2 feet of snow Wednesday night and Thursday.No one was injured in any of the accidents and most involved little or no damage to the vehicles, Petrik said.CSP, which had only one trooper and one sergeant on duty most of the day, put Summit County on accident alert until further notice, alleviating its staff from responding to every reported accident.Instead, the two parties involved in an accident are to exchange insurance information, then report the accident to CSP at their convenience.”It wouldn’t be fair for someone to wait three or four hours for a trooper who’s responding to an injury accident, then has to drive across the county to another accident,” Petrik said.Visibility was extremely limited most of the day from Frisco through Hoosier Pass into Park County; one more reason, Petrik said, to make sure the headlights are on at all times during bad weather.”People think, well, I can see, but it’s more important that you’re visible to other cars,” Petrik added.The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) was forced to close westbound Interstate 70 to tractor-trailers Thursday morning from Copper Mountain Resort to east Vail as high winds created whiteout conditions on the highway. The interstate was reopened at about 9:40 a.m.The eastbound lanes of I-70 at milepost 213 were closed temporarily Thursday after at least one truck spun out, blocking all three lanes. Otherwise, the pace was steady to the Eisenhower Tunnel, despite some added traffic due to the closure of Highway 6 over Loveland Pass, said CDOT spokesperson Mindy Crane.All hazardous materials trucks were re-routed to I-70 through the tunnel after heavy snowfall caused the highway to close Thursday morning at about 3:30 a.m.Every hour, CDOT closed the tunnel to allow haz-mat trucks to be escorted to the other side without presenting a danger to any other motorists.The Dillon Dam Road was closed all day Thursday.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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