Summer Traffic Patterns (May-Sept)
Friday WB– There are occasionally moderate delays heading westbound on Friday evenings. Traffic may build between 2:00-3:00 p.m., peak around 4:00 p.m., and end between 6:00-7:00 p.m. Delays during this timeframe might mean an added 20 minutes to a trip from Golden to Vail.
Saturday and Sunday WB – traffic is well-distributed westbound on weekend mornings. On Saturday morning, you might experience some minor slowing from 10:00-2:00 p.m. The exception to this is the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend where moderate delays may occur from 10:00 am-3:00 pm.
Saturday EB- Saturday eastbound traffic tends to be much lower in volume than Sunday. It is usually spread out enough that, barring an accident, congestion isn’t significant.
Sunday EB – According to historical data, eastbound traffic starts to build around 11:00 a.m. The peak of traffic is consistently between 3:00 and 4:00 pm all summer long. With folks trying to enjoy every bit of daylight in the mountains, the traffic typically doesn’t diminish until approximately 7:00-8:00 p.m. To avoid the traffic consider staying in the mountains for dinner, or spend Sunday night and head back to the Front Range early Monday morning. Check out the GoI70.com Peak Time Deals for discounts on dining, shopping, activities and Sunday night lodging deals!
Holiday Weekends – when a national holiday falls on a Monday, you can count on Monday afternoon EB traffic to mimic a typical Sunday pattern, but with potentially more volume. On the flip side, the Sunday of holiday weekends tends to have less than normal congestion.
Safety Metering – Safety metering eastbound at the Eisenhower Tunnel goes into effect during high volume times. This process controls the flow of traffic eastbound into the Eisenhower Tunnel, so traffic does not back up in the tunnel. Expect eastbound delays when metering is in effect.
Weather- In the summer, weather plays a larger factor in traveler behavior. If rain showers move in early in the day, expect drivers to head back to the Front Range early as well.
The above information is also posted at GoI70.com’s Travel Forecast page. Before you travel, always check one of CDOT’s Real Time Info resources to see the current status of I-70!
Winter Traffic Patterns (October-April)
I-70 is congestion-free the majority of the time, and with just a bit of planning travelers can enjoy More Mountains. Less Traffic. Below is the typical winter weekend traffic pattern.
Friday Westbound - Light to moderate traffic is likely from about 4:00-9:00 p.m.
Saturday Westbound - Traffic can be expected from about 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with the peak traffic occurring around 8:00 a.m.
Sunday Westbound - Sunday morning WB traffic is consistently lighter than Saturday morning, and sometimes non-existent. To play it safe, avoid the 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. timeframe.
Saturday Eastbound - Traffic typically builds around 2:00 p.m., peaks around 4:00-5:00 and drops dramatically after 7:00 p.m. Expect congestion.
Sunday Eastbound - I-70 starts to fill up earlier than it does on Saturday, as early as 1:00 p.m. Traffic peaks around 4:00-5:00 and drops off soon after 7:00 pm. Expect heavy traffic.
This Travel Forecast is based on historical traffic data. Please note that weather, road conditions and accidents are impossible to predict and can have significant impacts on I-70 travel.
Holiday Weekends – when a national holiday falls on a Monday, you can count on Monday afternoon eastbound traffic to mimic a typical Sunday pattern, but with potentially more volume. On the flip side, the Sunday of holiday weekends tends to have minimal congestion, making it an ideal day to travel.
Other factors: Metering - Traffic metering goes into effect during very high volume times and can occur at multiple I-70 eastbound on-ramps and/or on the Eisenhower Johnson Tunnel eastbound approach. Metering controls the flow of traffic eastbound towards the Eisenhower Tunnel so traffic does not back up in the tunnel, causing potential safety issues.