SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Hundreds of drivers were stranded along Interstate 70 either on their way to the mountains to enjoy the fresh powder or on their way home during the major snowstorm on Sunday. The Colorado Department of Transportation urged drivers to stay where they were until Monday.
Portions of I-70 in the foothills and mountains were closed on and off throughout Sunday along with Highway 6 over Loveland Pass. With the closures, travelers, including skiers, were unable to get to Denver, where a blizzard warning was in effect, or to the mountains.
“We are coming back from Steamboat. It was beautiful but then we were coming back today and we weren’t expecting it … so now we’re just waiting for it to open up to get back to Denver,” said Alex Tsankov, one of hundreds of stranded drivers.
Drivers tried to wait out the storm by parking near the I-70 onramp at Silverthorne. Nearly every parking space was full.
Charles Sanford and Amanda Beachy scored a last minute place in Fairplay and spent the weekend skiing Breckenridge, which reported 8 inches in 24 hours.
“So we were up in Breckenridge skiing Saturday and Sunday — great skiing but you know…” said Sanford.
The pair were scheduled to be in the office Monday morning.
I-70 WB: Road open at Exit 248 – Beaver Brook; Floyd Hill. Closure still in place at MM 259. https://t.co/VUINgXRMZM
— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) March 14, 2021
By 9 p.m. Sunday night, the highway eastbound was still closed at Vail and Silverthorne. CDOT said the issues remained east of the divide and the closure would remain until crews were prepared there.
Frustrating for drivers, many of whom were close to their final destination.
“We were headed to Georgetown and can’t make it there. The rest of our family is stuck on the other side of Denver so we’re just sitting in the parking lot,” said Jaimie McComas, visiting Denver from Kansas.
CDOT says once closures are lifted, drivers should expect traffic delays headed into Denver.
According to Meteorologist Ashton Altieri, a Blizzard Warning, Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories continue for many areas around the state with additional accumulation expected in all areas.