SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – This year the Colorado Department of Transportation is working hard to make the drive better. They’ve hired a new coordinator whose sole responsibility is to monitor Interstate 70 and the surrounding state highways.

CBS4's Jeff Todd talks with I-70 Mountain Corridor Manager Patrick Chavez (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jeff Todd talks with I-70 Mountain Corridor Manager Patrick Chavez (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jeff Todd got an exclusive interview with I-70 Mountain Corridor Manager Patrick Chavez.

“About 150 miles, so what we’re doing is we’re just doing a consolidation of the different systems and management pieces that we need in order to ensure that the operations are running effectively,” Chavez said.

CDOT says there’s a new effort this year to expand communication and programs to make traffic flow more easily, and Chavez is the main point man.

“They’re working the dispatch of the snow plows; we also have a contracted company that provides heavy tow and courtesy patrol assets,” he said.

It’s a position that didn’t exist before this winter.

“I’m responsible for the I-70 corridor, everything that impacts the I-70 corridor, including Loveland Pass, Berthoud Pass,” Chavez said.

This year that includes new policies for closures, handling traffic and dealing with accidents.

“If we can give the traveling public a reliable traffic indicator or travel time,” Chavez said. “We know there will always be congestion.”

Chavez oversees dispatchers and is in regular communication with the Colorado State Patrol.

“Checking the road conditions, looking at the weather forecast … trying to give us a good analysis on what to expect for the roadways and what we need to do in order to keep those roadways in good condition.”

The I-70 corridor control center (credit: CBS)

The I-70 corridor control center (credit: CBS)

While only on the job for a few weeks, Chavez has battled many difficult situations, such as last week when the snow created difficult travel conditions, but the road stayed open.

“It was just a matter of keeping the snow plows on the road and making sure they’re doing their cycles.”

CDOT says the other piece to making a better experience on the mountain corridor is better tire tread and adequate vehicles.

CDOT recommends travelers to get their smartphone app so they can get all the latest information about the roads.

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