DENVER, (CBS4) – Roads in the Denver metro area and along Interstate 70’s mountain corridor appeared much clearer Sunday than was the case less than 24 hours earlier.
Thick, wind-blown snow and poor visibility slowed down traffic on Denver roads, and required the Colorado Department of Transportation to shut I-70 down until early Sunday morning.
Late Sunday afternoon, CDOT issued an advisory.
The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread snow to develop late Christmas Eve night on the I-70 mountain corridor and continue falling into Christmas morning.
While the snowplows and daylight helped put Denver metro main streets back in good condition, snow buildup on some of the side streets slowed down Christmas Eve driving.
“The back streets are really bad. I almost slid into a curb to stop from hitting this one car,” one Denver driver told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. She was grateful, however that her drive to her family’s holiday plans Christmas Eve would not be like the night before. “I saw so many spinouts,” she said. “A guy hit a guardrail on (I-25).”
Difficult driving conditions in the metro area did not compare to drivers’ commute through the I-70 mountain corridor.
First accidents, and then near-blinding wind and snowfall required CDOT to shut down the interstate in both directions from about Vail to Morrison around 4:30 p.m. according to Amy Ford, a CDOT spokeswoman.
The messy weather kept crews from reopening the route until around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
As snowfall moved in fast across the Denver metro area, 50 city plows pushed snow to the sides of main streets and dropped deicing material. Another round of Denver Public Works employees continued clearing streets throughout the night.
“We had another shift come in at midnight. So 60 drivers were working overnight,” said Nancy Kuhn, a spokeswoman with Denver Public Works.
Kuhn said crews were on standby for Sunday night to help with trouble spots as needed. She advised Christmas Eve drivers to watch for possible slick spots. “It’s still cold out there. So please, be careful and use caution,” she said.