by Troy Hawks, www.troyhawks.net
She has broad shoulders, an alluring curvature, and she’s brightly lit. I’m a big fan of the newly expanded eastbound Twin Tunnel and she tops the list of new and improved travel tools for front-range skiers and snowboarders. The third lane of eastbound I-70 through the Twin Tunnels east of Idaho Springs opened in early December after nine months of rock blasting, rock bolting and paving. But the $109 million project isn’t entirely complete. CDOT still plans to build an express toll lane for use during peak periods by the summer of 2015. Department officials say the lane will shave 30 minutes off the trip and save millions in fuel costs.
So if your go-to reason for not skiing or snowboarding more often was “dealing with I-70,” your excuse is whittling away. Beyond major construction improvements, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been working hard to equip I-70 travelers with better knowledge. There are now 69 digital message boards scattered across the state that provide regularly updated travel times, so rather than being stuck in a traffic jam, skiers and riders can enjoy a few more runs, an après hamburger, or drop off their equipment for a fresh tune.
If you’ve got a good connection on the road, you can access an entire traveler’s tool chest at www.coloradodot.info, including news and stats on current road conditions with links to 28 streaming cameras, and 98 still cameras throughout the I-70 corridor. Users can sign up for email and text messages alerting of closures and accidents, and one of the handiest tools it the speed and travel time page. Bookmark this webpage to your phone or mobile device for a quick-loading reference to current traffic speeds.
Twitter also offers travelers whisking through the snow-capped Rockies a handy source of updates on current road conditions and closures. Follow CDOT on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ColoradoDOT
Front Range Ski Bus
The Front Range Ski Bus offers round trips from Denver to Loveland and Copper Mountain every Saturday and Sunday. The ride is $35 for adults and $29 for kids (ages 12 and under). The bus picks up at Union Station (16th & Wynkoop) at 7 a.m. and at the Wooly Mammoth Park-n-Ride on I-70 at Exit 259 near Morrison. Find more at www.FrontRangeSkiBus.com