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Traffic on westbound I-70 past Floyd Hill.
Traffic on westbound I-70 past Floyd Hill.
Colorado Department of Transportation

Reader: I-70 Traffic Ruins Even the Best Mountain Getaway

Does traffic keep you away from the mountains? If so, you're not alone. According to a recent study, more people than ever are choosing not to take Interstate 70 into the mountains on the weekend because of regular traffic nightmares.

While the report focuses on the ski season, its findings can be extrapolated to the summer months, when thousands of residents of Denver and points nearby find themselves weighing the opportunity to enjoy cooler temperatures and gorgeous scenery against the high likelihood of being stuck in extended gridlock.

Readers provided their own unofficial survey. Explains Lisa:

You can have the best weekend EVER in the mountains...then hit I-70 and it’s all squashed to hell!

Counters Naomi:

That's okay, the mountains need a break from all the people.

Responds Elysa:

Traffic in general in Colorado is a nightmare.

Suggests James:

If you leave on Wednesday, you get through the traffic before the weekend starts.

Adds Steve:

I go during the week — or very early in the morning. Adjust your plans.

Observes Stacy:

Took three hours to get to Vail last Friday. I left Denver at 2. No accidents, just volume.

Replies Marc:

It is a lot of work to get up there. But when you do, it’s wow!

 But Jeff concludes:

And once you make it through the traffic, good luck finding a parking space.

The study was conducted by the I-70 Coalition, a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 to represent the interests of 28 local governments and businesses along the mountain corridor. The data is based on opinions shared by parkers at the T-Rex and Wooly Mammoth lots in Morrison who were quizzed in January and February, as well as members of the Front Range Panel, described as a broad sample of snow-sport enthusiasts in the area.

Margaret Bowes, the coalition's director, notes that for respondents as a whole, "the level of frustration is definitely increasing."

Indeed, she says, "95 percent of the people who took the survey say they use multiple strategies to deal with the situation: leaving early or staying late, spending Sunday night in the mountains or driving on weekdays. But folks are saying, 'We're doing all that and we're still sitting in traffic.'"

Does traffic keep you away from the mountains? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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