Vail Pass, Highway 24 experience Wednesday closures, accidents in snow storm
Eagle County’s first heavy snowfall kept highway safety officials busy Wednesday, as drivers struggled in early season conditions.
Hazmat crash on Hwy 24
Residents of Minturn and Red Cliff had their main thoroughfare blocked off around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, due to a hazmat truck crashing against the guardrail on Hwy 24 at MM 154. Both lanes of traffic were blocked for nearly two hours until the incident was cleared shortly before noon.
Multiple accidents close Vail Pass
A few minutes before 10:00 a.m., a motor vehicle accident caused a closure on I-70 WB at MM 190. The closure persisted for over two hours, as more drama unfolded in the eastbound direction.
Within the hour, a multi-vehicle accident happened in the eastbound direction of I-70 at MM 183, causing a closure in the right lane. Those who were able to pass in the left lane only enjoyed about 12 minutes of relief, as another multiple-vehicle accident took place two miles down the road at EB 185.
By 12:06 p.m., the WB incident was clear and drivers were able to continue on their journeys. The two incidents EB both followed shortly after, and Vail Pass was once again commuter-friendly.
CDOT reminds drivers of traction laws
As a reminder to those traveling the I-70 corridor, CDOT posted traction laws on lighted signs above the highway.
When the Traction Law, or Code 15, is in effect, motorists must have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle. Furthermore, all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread. Motorists whose vehicles do not meet those requirements can also install chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock) to be in compliance with the law.
Non-compliance can result in big fines for drivers. According to CDOT, “If a motorist blocks the roadway because he/she has inadequate equipment when a Passenger Vehicle Traction Law or Chain Law is in effect, he/she could be fined more than $650.”
David Lesh, the snowmobiler who became infamous over the summer for boasting about sledding in wilderness areas, crash landed his plane in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.