When we moved from the East Coast to Denver last year, being able to ski in Colorado every weekend seemed like a dream come true.
This season my powder paradise on Sundays has been ruined by the prospect of a five-hour drive back to Denver as a result of the metered traffic at the tunnel.
On a recent Sunday, as I was sitting with my car engine turned off on the tunnel approach, I decided to dial the 51 number for further information as the sign suggested. I thought perhaps if there were specific time periods for the metering, I might be able to plan my drive home accordingly.
I was told that due to heavy traffic, it was decided to meter traffic at the tunnel to let emergency vehicles through.
The recording went on to cheerfully tell me to expect and additional two-hour delay to Denver and to make sure I had a full tank of gas. I also was advised that since there were no facilities at the tunnel to make sure these matters were taken care of. I was given no indication what time the metering would stop, making it seem it would end as abruptly as it began.
Last year, apparently per metering, I was in the mountains almost every weekend.
Except for the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend during a snowstorm, it was never more than a three-hour drive back to Denver. This year, every Sunday night it averages five hours. I have to ask if the metering is really necessary.
I don't know if the individuals sitting in the metering queue each Sunday have the information to determine that. But maybe the stakeholders in Summit and Eagle counties whose livelihoods at least in part are dependent on Front Range visitors could partner with the Department of Transportation to determine if metering is necessary.
If so, there might be a viable alternative to metering found. If not, I think there will be considerably fewer visits to the ski areas of Summit and Eagle County next season.
Mary J. Linke