Colorado Bill to Require Mandatory Winter Equipment on I-70

Adrian Dolatschko | | Industry NewsIndustry News

A bill is currently passing through Colorado state legislature that would require all drivers on I-70 to have specialized winter road equipment between September and May.

After many years of hazardous driving conditions and resulting traffic on I-70, the bill was introduced.  Traction is a major issue on the roadway and has led to countless spinouts, accidents, and delays.

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I-70 Traction Traffic Image: Colorado State Patrol

Under bill hb19-1207 the corridor between the towns of Dotsero and Morrison would become a mandatory winter equipment corridor. Drivers without the appropriate tire, chain, and drivetrain combination could risk fines. The bill essentially supports increased regulation for I-70 winter traffic.

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I-70 Traffic Corridor Morrison to Dotsero, Image: Google Maps

Current laws only require proper equipment when snow or ice are forecasted/recognized by the Colorado Department of Transportation. However, the unpredictable nature of the mountains leaves many unprepared for freak storms and variable conditions.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon mentioned that the traffic and driving conditions have had a significant negative impact on local town’s economies. In addition, the new bill would help to educate the public that the I-70 corridor is under restrictions in winter months.

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Classic Colorado I-70 Traffic,  Image: SnoCountry

Roberts concluded by stating

“People are really getting behind this,” he said. “It’s time to have this higher restriction in place so we can reduce traffic.”

Sen. Bob Rankin, a Republican from Carbondale who is in favor of the bill, told The Colorado Sun

 “Anything we can do to improve traffic and improve safety on I-70, particularly in the wintertime, is just one more step toward solving a very troublesome and difficult set of problems,”

The bill has bipartisan support and seems to be gaining momentum.


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7 thoughts on “Colorado Bill to Require Mandatory Winter Equipment on I-70

  1. Just another way to raise money to fill the state’s coffers. Either have steel studded tires, snow chains or brand new tires with tread so deep you could drive on Mar’s. It all comes down to this. You either know how to drive in snowy conditions or you don’t. Skiers for the most part are great drivers in the worst driving conditions. Naturally there are idiot drivers that are a hazard for everyone. The druggies, drunks and speed freaks are dangerous in the city driving conditions on flat dry pavement. In the mountains during a snow storm they are downright deadly. Another answer is one that was proposed over 30 years ago. Build a train system from Denver to Grand Junction. The trains line built on the European model leave every hour on a constant rotation. Buses pick up skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer along the train depots all along the I-70 corridor. For heavens sakes do not give this to RTD. They could screw up a cup of coffee. Give this project to private firms. Highly motivated and always coming up with new and bright ideas.

    1. A train will not work in the CO mountains. And who in their right mind would drive to a station in town, pay for parking, hump gear from car to train, train transit time, hump gear to a bus, board a bus, bus transit time to limited destinations, hump gear from bus to lodge, pay for a locker to store street shoes, then repeat for the return trip.

      Summers are worse with thousands of destinations, trailheads, camping gear, bikes, etc.

      The elevation changes in the CO mtns precludes mag lev and standard train engineering.

      Day fares would be exorbitantly high.

      RTD doesn’t even pay for itself. It’s a non starter.

  2. This seems like significant overkill. No need to necessarily go as far as California in terms of enforcement (with actual checkpoints on the road), but put in proper signage, make it clear when additional equipment is required, and make it clear that the fine will be *steep* if you’re involved in an accident and don’t have what you need to legally be on the road. (Maybe throw in some light jail time for egregious violations?)

    Ultimately, mountain weather is not *that* unpredictable. If unstable conditions are in the forecast, either come prepared or risk getting snowed in.

    1. Do you live in CO? Blizzard on the west side of the divide. Spring on the east. Or vise versa. Completely unpredictable.

      1. Varying weather in different places is not the same as unpredictable. Unexpected, sure, if you’re used to the weather not shifting within short distances, but the conditions necessary to produce a storm are quite well understood. If the forecast shows weather, come prepared; doesn’t matter if it’s bright and sunny where you are at the time.

  3. Sounds like a good idea, but probably could use a few tweaks. Would probably be best to model it after the CA rules, maybe without the checkpoints (at least until a few idiots blatantly disregard the rules and ruin it for everyone). 4wd or AWD is useless without snow tires or m+s. And chains shouldn’t ever be needed for 4wd unless you don’t have snow tires.

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