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Traffic picks up even as most metro-area counties remain under stay-at-home order

Traffic data from CDOT shows an uptick in cars on the road around Denver when the statewide stay-at-home order was lifted.

DENVER — If you judge a city by its traffic, Denver is starting to look like itself again.

Denver's stay-at-home order ends Friday.

And remember those empty highways from two weeks ago? Data shows they are starting to fill up again. 

At the beginning of April, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said traffic volume was down about 50% from pre-COVID-19 times. Traffic on the roads has increased about 20% in the past week since the state’s stay-at-home order expired.

In April 2019, more than 259,000 cars passed through on an average Monday. On April 13 of this year, in the middle of statewide stay at home orders, the number of cars dropped to just over 122,000. On April 27, the day the statewide order expired, traffic increased to nearly 180,000 cars.

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"Ever since we moved to the safer-at-home, we have seen some more cars out on the roadway," said Master Trooper Gary Cutler with Colorado State Patrol (CSP). "We did see a lot less cars on the road, but then we started to see an increase in speeds and that was something that disturbed us."

Even though the number of crashes CSP said they’ve worked has stayed about the same, some have been more deadly. CDOT said motorcycle deaths are up nearly 25% this year.

"We’ve been seeing traffic steadily increase. Crashes are starting to go back up," said Officer Michael Brumbaugh with the Arvada Police Department. "It’s very odd to not see the normal rush hours that we’re used to, to not see the traffic volumes that we’re used to. It’s definitely a different experience."

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