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I-70 traffic at a 40-year low at the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels

Traffic counts along I-70 heading into the mountains are at a level seen in 1980.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Stay-at-home orders and business closures have reduced traffic all over Colorado but along Interstate 70 at the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels traffic volume has dropped dramatically in the past few weeks.

If you compare this year with last year the drop-in traffic is significant. Take Sunday, March 31, 2019 -- on that day nearly 44,000 cars passed through the tunnels but the same Sunday in 2020 had only 9,637 cars.

That’s the kind of traffic volume CDOT Communications Manager Bob Wilson said was last seen 40 years ago. 

“We decided to take a look back, way back about 40 years and take a look at how the numbers compared to 2020,” said Wilson. “And we have essentially gone back to the future.”

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Credit: 9News

The Eisenhower Tunnel opened in 1973 and the Johnson Tunnel opened in December 1979. Four decades later traffic along I-70 at the tunnels is almost exactly what it was back then.

On March 20, 1980 the stretch of highway saw 12,187 cars pass through and on March 20, 2020 had 12,142. 

“Traffic has basically returned to what it was 40 years ago along the I-70 corridor,” said Wilson.

Credit: 9News

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