Traffic jam westbound I-70 highway with snow covered mountains Colorado

Weekend drive times on Interstate 70 have increased over the past five years, with traffic beginning earlier, CPR found.

Travel times between C-470, near Denver, and Dillon have lengthened from 70 minutes in 2014 to 86 minutes in 2018 at 7 a.m. Trip lengths at 6 a.m. were 67 minutes on average, also an increase from the previous five years.

CPR noted that return trips were similarly congested, with travel times in excess of 90 minutes in the 4 o’clock hour on Sunday.

A 2017 report from the Colorado Department of Transportation found that within five years, realistic options for increasing capacity on I-70 included bus, van and shuttle service; various interchange improvements; and expanding to six lanes from Floyd Hill through the Veterans Memorial Tunnels.

“Congestion on the weekends is causing an increase in crashes, because more crashes occur on weekends when traffic volumes are the highest,” the report warned. CDOT on its website added that the department does not have enough money to carry out the report’s recommendations.

The most recent attempt at raising money for infrastructure occurred in 2019 with the ballot measure Proposition CC, which failed. The measure would have taken revenues normally refunded to state taxpayers and put them toward roads and bridges, among other purposes. At a meeting of municipal leaders in Denver last week, Gov. Jared Polis conceded that a different strategy is necessary, considering that “the problem in going statewide is voters tend to think it’s funding somebody else’s roads.”

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