The Colorado Department of Transportation advises travelers to use caution and plan ahead as a winter storm hits western parts of the state tonight and will linger through Friday morning.
The storm will impact mostly the high country, above 8,500 feet. This storm is expected to arrive in two waves, with a brief lull late Wednesday and overnight Thursday.
Western Colorado: Motorists will encounter snow-packed and icy roads on high mountain passes. Driving conditions will be difficult, particularly along mountain corridors including U.S. 550 Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain Passes; CO 145 Lizard Head Pass; and U.S. 160 Wolf Creek Pass.
The southern San Juan Mountains may see up to two feet of snow. Meanwhile CO 149 Slumgullion Pass between Creede and Lake City and CO 17 Cumbres and La Manga Passes may receive just under a foot of snow.
North and central Colorado: Heavy and blowing snow is possible, particularly along the I-70 mountain corridor near Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel. Significant snowfall is also expected for U.S. 50 Monarch Pass. Snow accumulations in north and central Colorado high country may reach up to 10 inches.
Front Range: The Front Range and adjacent plains will experience moisture with warmer temperatures and lighter snow rates and limited roadway impacts. The I-25 urban corridor, I-25 Gap Project and foothills may see snow accumulations of 3 to 7 inches in some areas.
CHAIN and TRACTION LAWS
CDOT urges 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 be in compliance 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: snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M+S) designation, chains or alternative traction devices such as an autosock. 4WD and AWD vehicles must have snow 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.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:
Road conditions and travel information: www.COtrip.org
Chain and traction law information: www.codot.gov/admin/travel/winter-driving/tractionlaw
Sign up for project or travel alerts: bit.ly/COalerts
See scheduled lane closures: codot.gov/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html
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