Snowfall and cold temperatures in the Denver metro area and mountains this weekend led to icy travel conditions, avalanche risks and closures due to crashes.
Westbound Interstate 70 at mile marker 208, near the Eisenhower Tunnel, was closed after several crashes Sunday morning, including two bystanders who were hit while trying to assist people in other crashes. Colorado State Patrol Trooper Tim Schaefer said the area was expected to remain closed at least until late afternoon.
A semi-truck and two vehicles collided, and some people involved were transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries, he said. Specific details about how the crashes occurred were not immediately available.
A bystander who stopped to render aid was hit, and Schaefer said the person’s injuries are currently unknown, but the bystander was transported to Summit Medical. A second bystander who stopped to render aid was also hit and transported to the hospital.
Traffic was being diverted onto Loveland Pass, according to Schaefer, and crews were working to get plows through who were facing difficulties because of backed up eastbound traffic.
Multiple crashes also occurred near mile marker 215 on Sunday morning, Schaefer said, causing further closures and delays.
I-70: Safety closure at MM 215. Detour US 6 Loveland Pass with chain and traction law in place.
— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) March 3, 2019
Eastbound I-70 at Silverthorne near mile marker 205 was also closed Sunday afternoon because of multiple vehicles that spun out of control, according to the Colorado Department of transportation.
“I-70 Mountain travel is discouraged due to adverse driving conditions and reduced visibility,” a tweet from the agency said. “Adequate traction is essential.”
CDOT also tweeted earlier on Sunday afternoon, saying traffic was heavy between mile marker 205 and 259 in Golden, with up to two hours of travel time. For driving conditions, go to cotrip.org.
The roads may just look wet in spots but it is very cold and that’s ice you see. We have drivers losing control and crashing because they are driving too fast. Slow and steady wins the race today.
— CSP Golden (@CSP_Golden) March 3, 2019
Denver police responded to a single-vehicle crash Sunday morning at I-25, south of Colorado Boulevard, that shut down two northbound lanes. They have since been reopened.
More snow is expected to continue throughout the evening, with heavier snowfall along the I-70 corridor of the central mountains, according to the National Weather Service.
A large area of heavy snow will move eastward along the I-70 corridor from Glenwood Spring to Idaho Springs thru 4pm. Heavy snow, causing poor visibility & difficult travel, can be expected for areas incl Vail Pass, Copper Mtn & Silverthorne. Snowfall rates: 1″-2″/hr. #COwx pic.twitter.com/Qy6FSAZNjK
— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) March 3, 2019
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning for the northern and central mountains, saying “dangerous human-triggered avalanches are very likely.”
A man who was driving to Glenwood Springs for a vehicle recovery as part of a local rescue group posted a video to Facebook of an avalanche on I-70 on Sunday between Frisco and Copper.
Brandon Ciullo, who is with the Summit County Rescue Group, said he hopes to spread awareness about the conditions.
According to the Summit Daily News, CDOT was not aware of any avalanche-related injuries but crews were conducting some mitigation work along the corridor.