DENVER (CBS4)– The bill that would require passenger vehicles to have tires with adequate tread, snow tires or chains on Interstate 70 in the mountains during winter months has advanced in the state House.
Some state lawmakers want the requirement for all vehicles that travel in the mountains because when I-70 shuts down, it’s costly for everyone involved.
The proposal would require cars that travel the 125-mile stretch between Morrison and Dotsero along I-70 to have snow tires, 1/8 inch tread or chains.
If drivers don’t comply, they face fines of more than $100.
“Picture a loaded oil tanker or loaded semi of cattle and all of a sudden a passenger vehicle just stops in front of them. They’re fully chained, have all the right equipment and boom! They’re stopped,” said Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat representing Steamboat Springs.
Mitsch, the bill’s sponsor, said closures on I-70 are a huge problem for the economy, including the ski and snowboard industry.
“It’s a serious economic issue when people can’t get to ski areas, when truckers are stopped on the road. It’s astounding, it’s millions of dollars per hour when we stop traffic on I-70,” said Rep. Bob Rankin, a Republican representing Garfield County.
Legislators say research shows that passenger cars have become a growing reason for the road closures.
The bill, which won verbal approval in the House on Thursday, states that drivers would, regardless of weather conditions, need to have their tires equipped for snow conditions from Nov. 1 to May 15 or face fines.
“Our intent here is to let people know, when you go up to the mountains in the winter time… you need to be prepared,” said Rankin.
Drivers who cause a mountain lane along I-70 to be closed face fines of $500.