Eisenhower tunnel traffic numbers tell a stark COVID-19 tale
Friday westbound trafffic has dropped 80% compared to March 2019 numbers
EAGLE COUNTY — Sometimes numbers really do tell the whole story.
Case in point: Three graphs compiled by Margaret Bowes, director of the I-70 coalition. In the days since COVID-19 shut down the state’s ski resorts, there has been an 80% decline in Friday westbound traffic at the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels. Sunday eastbound traffic is down 74%.
“We all know the cause,” said Bowes. “Usually decreasing I-70 congestion is a good thing, but not under this scenario.”
Beyond the obvious, there’s really not much more to offer, Bowes said.
“It is fascinating to see how much traffic our tourism-based economy draws,” she said.
Personnel at the Colorado Department of Transportation are watching the numbers, but aren’t sure what practical insight they can offer. Elise Thatcher, communications officer for the CDOT Northwest Region, said there are many factors at play with the data.
“There is less traffic, however, we don’t have enough information to provide an analysis of all the factors contributing to the reduction and by how much,” Thatcher said.
“What we can definitively say is Colorado’s highways are open, including at every state border, unless a road is closed for construction or weather-related safety issues. We are working closely with the commercial freight industry, to make sure they’re able to transport food, health care materials and other critical items,” Thatcher said.
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VAIL — The lift operator in the maze at Vail Village’s Gondola One tilts his head back and hollers: “Masks up please!”