GEORGETOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – Traffic was clogged on Interstate 70 on Sunday at Georgetown as skiers started the trek home from the mountains.

It was bumper to bumper in all lanes, but the Colorado Department of Transportation is using a new technique to ease traffic congestion — it’s called “The Wave.”

State troopers will coral hundreds of motorists in one place, hold them up, and then hopefully that allows the traffic to untangle itself.

“We are at a critical point with corridor traffic on I-70,” Amy Ford with CDOT said. “What we’re trying to do is figure out the most effective way to manage traffic in that corridor, get people where they need to go.”

If the road gets slick or the volume is too great, troopers will hold traffic at Silverthorne for 20 to 30 minutes. That way emergency vehicles can get through the Eisenhower Tunnel. After 20 minutes or so, the troopers will escort hundreds of vehicles through the tunnel. So far CDOT is pleased from the results last Sunday.

“On the Friday night before going eastbound up to the tunnel we had over 40 vehicles spin out, whether trucks or personal vehicles. When we did ‘The Wave’ and kept people moving up the road, we had five,” Ford said.

CDOT is also trying to insert humor. On their website is Oleg the Russian, who likes to say, “There’s no reason to be rushin’.” His advice is to leave the mountain later. And to entice skiers and boarders to leave later, the mountain towns will offer deals on meals, entertainment and retail merchandise.

“It might seem like a kitchen sink strategy, but we’re all in this together,” Ford said.

Future plans call for using the shoulder on eastbound I-70, but that’s months from happening.


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