DENVER (CBS4) – Officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation have launched a contest that’s intended to spread awareness about how to avoid heavy Interstate 70 mountain traffic.

Traffic between Vail and Denver on the interstate has been devastating for drivers during peak travel times this ski season, and it’s expected to be strong again this weekend. CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford said on busy days between 30,000 and 40,000 cars have been traveling through the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnel.

CDOT would like drivers who travel to and from the mountains to consider changing the times they depart and return.

“A good time to leave is likely 10 or 11 a.m. Our peak hours tend to be a little closer to 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday,” Ford told CBS4’s Alan Gionet on Friday during an interview on the CBS4 Morning News.

Contest participants are encouraged to use social media to inform CDOT about how they were able to avoid bad I-70 traffic. Entrants are supposed to explain what they did in the mountains for fun as they delayed their travel time.

LINK: Peak Time Challenge

The prizes for the contest include lift tickets and lodging packages at Copper, Winter Park or Keystone.

“They are having extraordinary snow in the mountains. People want to go up and ski, and we know that the traffic will be coming back,” Ford said. “So we want people to think differently about how they change that peak experience.”

The contest also has an Olympic theme, showcasing a tag line that has a play on words … No reason to be Rushin’.

The following are two different YouTube clips CDOT released to launch the contest:

CDOT also announced on Friday that they will be trying a different approach this weekend to limit huge backups in the eastbound lanes leading up to the Eisenhower Tunnel. They will be stopping traffic in Silverthorne and holding it there during peak times to minimize delays up closer to the tunnel.


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