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Colorado roads: Snow leads to messy conditions

Drivers encountered slick, icy and snowy roads Wednesday.

DENVER — Another round of snow led to a mess on Colorado's roads on Wednesday.

The cold front that brought an initial blast of snow Tuesday evening continued to bring snow to the Denver metro area, foothills and mountains into late Wednesday.

Roads across the region were icy, snowy and slick throughout the Wednesday morning commute. The National Weather Service and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) urged travelers to slow down and use extra caution. 

Travel Alerts

Interstate 70 eastbound was closed between E-470 and the Kansas state line, and I-70 was closed in both directions between Airpark Boulevard and the Kansas state line.

Colorado State Patrol said there was a crash with at least nine commercial vehicles and 12 passenger vehicles on I-70 in the Strasburg area. No injuries were reported. Some fuel was leaking from the trucks, prompting a hazmat team response.

CSP said to expect an extended closure and to avoid the area.

US 36 was also closed in both directions from Airpark Road and the Kansas state line.

The southbound lanes of Interstate 25 closed for a second time Wednesday at US 34 in northern Colorado. The lanes re-opened just before 12:45 p.m. after being closed for around two hours.

Road Closures

The following highways are closed due to adverse conditions:

  • I-76 in both directions from Sterling to Nebraska
  • US 385 in both directions from Julesburg to Nebraska
  • US 138 both directions from Sterling to Nebraska 
  • US 6 in both directions from Sterling to Nebraska
  • CO 113 in both directions from CO 138 to Nebraska
  • CO 59 both directions from I-76 to Yuma
  • CO 55 both directions from CO 138 to milepost 5.5
  • CO 52 in both directions from New Raymer to Fort Morgan
  • CO 23 both directions from US-385 to Nebraska
  • CO 14 both directions from Ault to Sterling 
  • CO 11 From CO 138 to Nebraska

Several metro area traffic agencies were on accident alert Wednesday morning including Thornton and Erie.

Denver plow tracker
CDOT plow tracker

CDOT plow crews are in full shift and will be plowing and treating state-maintained roads throughout the storm and afterward as necessary.

Even with plowing, pretreatment and deicing, CDOT said roads are slick, particularly on bridges, overpasses and shady areas. CDOT added it's best to avoid driving during the Wednesday commute and work from home if possible.

If you have to be out, take it slow, keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you, stay well behind plows, do not pass plows and give extra time.

FORECAST: Full forecast
CLOSURES: Full list of closures
ALERTS: Latest Colorado weather alerts

Denver and area counties will plow heavily traveled roads first before moving onto ones that don’t see as much traffic.

The City of Denver has 70 large plows and 36 smaller residential plows. Denver's large plows can drop deicer down to provide traction on the streets. The small plows do not carry deicer.

During the snowstorm through Wednesday, Denver's residential plows will take a single pass down the center of each side street over the course of a 12-hour shift.

CDOT said its crews west of Golden and in southwestern Colorado have been on full snow shift since before the storm as these regions experienced winter weather conditions over the weekend and will remain on snow shift throughout this next storm. All maintenance crews throughout the state were on snow shift after 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Know before you go and check out COtrip.org for the latest road conditions.

Keep up with the latest road conditions here:

Colorado chain and traction laws

The CDOT urged travelers to be aware of chain and traction law codes before heading out on the roadway:

  • Code 18/Commercial Chain Law: Commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains. Vehicles without chains can often lose traction, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it's critical to use chains to comply with Colorado's chain law.
  • Code 15/Passenger Traction Law: All passenger vehicles must have appropriate all-weather tires with 3/16-inch depth. Vehicles must have one of the following: winter tires, tires with mud/snow (M+S) designation, chains or alternative traction devices such as an autosock. 4WD and AWD vehicles must have winter tires or all-weather tires.
  • Code 16/Passenger Chain Law: All passenger vehicles need chains, except for 4WD and AWD vehicles with all-weather tires with 3/16-inch tread depth.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Snow in Colorado


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