CDOT: ‘Extreme caution’ advised for people driving in the mountains this weekend

Photo: Colorado State Patrol

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation is urging drivers to plan ahead, as heavy snow will likely cause difficult travel conditions in the mountains this weekend.

Pinpoint Weather meteorologist Matt Makens says two storm systems will impact Colorado. The first will bring snow to the mountains starting Thursday night.

By the end of the weekend, some mountain communities will receive more than two feet of snow. Sunday is a Pinpoint Weather Alert Day due to anticipated travel impacts.

“Motorists should prepare for snowpacked and icy conditions and difficult travel conditions due to falling and blowing snow up to 60 mph in mountain areas west of Denver including I-70,” CDOT said in a statement issued Thursday evening.

The department expects the biggest travel impacts to occur Thursday evening through mid-morning Friday and again Saturday morning and afternoon.

“Avalanche mitigation operations may occur on several passes across the state through the weekend, which may require road closures to ensure the safety of motorists and crews,” CDOT said.

Additionally, CDOT says drivers should prepare for heavier traffic along mountain portions of I-70 and expect chain and traction laws to be in place.

“Extreme caution is advised if driving in the mountains. Motorists should also make sure cars are equipped with emergency kits before heading out in the likely event of road closures,” the agency said.

While the mountains will receive the highest snow totals, accumulation is also expected along the Front Range and Plains.

CDOT says people looking for an alternative method of getting to the mountains should consider its new program, Snowstang. Starting Saturday, Snowstang will provide round-trip bus service between metro Denver and four ski areas: Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Steamboat Resort and Howelsen Hill.

Passengers can board at either Union Station or at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood.

Round-trip tickets for Loveland and Arapahoe Basin start at $25. Round-trip tickets to Steamboat (both the resort and Howelsen Hill) cost $40.

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