Colorado’s three greatest forces converge on the state’s highways this weekend: Our snow, our tourists and ourselves. Let’s run down the weather details and some specific traffic projections based on historic data.
Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend is one of the busiest of the year, and historic snowfall will only draw bigger crowds. The snow over the mountains is subsiding today, Friday, but snow and avalanche-related delays may persist across the state.
There’s a particularly solid chance of continued heavy snow over the southern mountains (Telluride, Silverton, Purgatory, Wolf Creek) this weekend, according to OpenSnow. A Sunday-Monday storm may also catch the I-70 corridor and metro Denver.
As a Denverite hoping to ski or board, your best shot may be Monday, when the tourists are starting to leave.
All these projections are based on last year’s data from the state government, available at GoI70.com. Refer to CoTrip.org for current traffic conditions before you leave.
Your westbound delays on Interstate 70 might start around 4 p.m., and snow west of the Eisenhower Tunnel could make it worse.
The worst day for westbound traffic. Expect heavy traffic all morning, peaking around 8 a.m., with an extra hour of travel to get to Silverthorne.
You may also hit light eastbound traffic this afternoon, but “delays shouldn’t be too significant.”
Westbound traffic shouldn’t be as bad, but expect delays of maybe 40 minutes between 7 and 11 a.m.
Eastbound traffic will be heavy between 1:30 and 7 p.m., especially with the chance of snow.
Last year’s traffic volumes put 30-minute delays on westbound traffic in the morning.
The return trip was equivalent to a typical Sunday, with significant traffic and potential 40-minute delays.
Also, you should really consider actually celebrating King on Monday. At least bring some relevant reading or a podcast, you know? Or you could go to the Marade on Monday.