Expect heavy traffic this weekend from the Vail Valley to Denver on I-70 | VailDaily.com

Expect heavy traffic this weekend from the Vail Valley to Denver on I-70

Daily staff report
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DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation is advising motorists that despite clear skies forecast for the weekend, heavy traffic can be expected.

"The interstate's road surface should become dry and clear up for Saturday and Sunday," said CDOT I-70 Operations Manager Patrick Chavez. "Spring breakers, both out-of-state and local, will certainly have an impact on traffic volumes, especially during peak commuting hours when vehicles are heading west to ski areas in the morning, and then in the evening when they're headed east back home."

Department officials also advise weekend travelers to be aware of potential "safety metering" when traffic volumes increase on the corridor at the location of Eisenhower Tunnel. Safety metering helps control the flow of traffic, reduce crashes and keep the tunnel open for emergency vehicles.

There are two types of metering to be aware of:

• Continuous-Flow safety metering occurs on the approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel. An alternating red and green stoplight cycles every four to eight seconds to keep traffic moving consistently through the tunnel, while traffic on the tunnel's east side slowly dissipates.

• On-Ramp safety metering occurs at eastbound on-ramps at Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne and Loveland. This type of metering may be more familiar, occurring on highway and interstate on-ramps throughout most metro areas.

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While drivers may be stopped an average of 20 minutes with continuous-flow safety metering, the actual delay for total travel time is only around three to five minutes. This is because eastbound traffic on the other side of the Eisenhower Tunnel is still moving slowly and cars usually quickly catch up with the flow of traffic. For more information visit: http://www.codot.gov/travel/winter-driving/i70-metering.