SILVERTHORN (CBS4) – According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, many things caused the traffic drivers on Interstate 70 experienced on Sunday.
Drivers heading home from the mountains sat through hours of delays.
“The longest travel times we were looking at from Silverthorn to the Eisenhower Tunnel was five hours. Usually that’s a 32 minute drive,” said Crystal Morgan from CDOT.
Brian Jordan is also with CDOT and he monitored the problems unfolding from his command post.
“I’ve never seen it quite that slow,” said Jordan.
He said that a series of events lead to Sunday’s traffic nightmare.
“This is the first weekend after the Super Bowl and we just had two days of great snow. All the powder hounds are heading up,” said Jordan.
As 30,000 cars passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel, heavy snow closed Loveland Pass due to avalanche danger.
That closed eastbound 1-70 for about an hour and at the same time, dozens of accidents on the icy roads caused more gridlock on the highway.
“Roads were blocked by cars that couldn’t move and neither could the snowplows,” said Jordan.
Morgan said CDOT is looking for ways to ease the congestion but the reality is that people heading to the mountains to ski on a Sunday are likely to encounter traffic.
“Stay up the entire weekend. Stay up a few extra hours on Sunday and head back down after six. You should avoid a lot of those travel times,” said Morgan.
CDOT is working on a $40 million project to turn the shoulder lanes of I-70 into a toll lane during peak hours.
They hope to have the project finished by late next year.