GENESEE, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s the Fourth of July tradition that drivers hate — the traffic mess to the high country on Interstate 70 — and they’ve been dealing with it for two days.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says Sunday will likely be a brutal drive down from the mountains.
CDOT is expecting tens of thousands of travelers to make their way back on Sunday, so those who thought the recent traffic backup was bad, things are likely to be a lot worse.
“What we always say about the I-70 mountain corridor is there are two seasons. There’s winter and the Fourth of July, and we’re hitting that heavy season today,” Crystal Morgan with CDOT said. “Yesterday we saw almost 48,000 people go up to the mountains.”
Near record traffic from Genesee to the Eisenhower Tunnel created upwards of 2-hour long delays.
“We’re expecting almost all of them to come back on Sunday,” Morgan said.
CDOT is keeping a watchful eye on the busy interstate.
“We’ve got courtesy patrol, we’ve got our own crews out there, we’ve got all of our cameras live, so we’re watching for accidents,” Morgan said.
They even considered expanding the highly-traveled road.
“If you build it, they will come. So if we build 16 lanes, or however many, we will get that much traffic heading up the mountain corridor,” Morgan said.
Instead, CDOT recommends extending the holiday weekend.
“If you can stay an extra day, stay an extra day and come back Monday,” Morgan said.
CDOT also advises avoiding peak travel times, which is usually between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. However it’s likely traffic will be heavy almost all weekend.