SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– After a busy ski weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation urged people not to travel in the high country Sunday night, but many didn’t heed that warning. Interstate 70 saw heavy traffic in some areas and some temporary closures after multiple crashes in the evening.
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A CDOT spokesperson said the department was prepared for extreme congestion and, on Saturday night, urged drivers to head home early or stay in the mountains through Monday.
“The fewer drivers on the road, the easier our plows get through and get the job done that they need to get done, but bottom line is safety,” said Michelle Peulen, Communications Manager with CDOT.
For a while, it appeared to work. CBS4 spoke with a number of drivers who had little to no trouble on their drive back down to the metro area.
“It was a nice smooth sail. Dry roads and a little bit of traffic,” said Devin Bugbee, who made the trip from Loveland.READ MORE: 'This Is Offering Them Shelter For The Night': City Of Northglenn Converts Old Rec Center Into Winter Housing For Homeless
“You can see there’s not a lot of traffic, it’s just flowing freely,” said Walker Fenton.
By night time, a sea of slow moving taillights was evidence that CDOT’s prediction of a painful drive home came true for some. Traffic cameras showed a closure near Copper and standstill traffic in Vail. Heavy traffic could also be seen near Loveland and Georgetown.
“We were worried about the potential for safety closures, worried about the potential for slide offs, worried about the potential for just so much congestion,” said Peleun.
“If you leave while the suns still out, you should be good,” said Connor Johnston, who was making the trip from Winter Park to Fort Collins. “I think if anyone is going to try to leave by like 3 or 4 they should just stay up there.”MORE NEWS: VIDEO: Colorado Bobcat Hunts For Next Meal
Whenever you leave, Peulen said the best thing is to know what’s ahead of you on your trip. Drivers can visit cotrip.org to check on any travel alerts and road conditions.