The Day I-70 Shut Down: July 23, 2011

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As I write this, it's Saturday evening (though I'll schedule the post for the morning) we're winding down from a long two days of three weddings between Breckenridge and Silverthorne.  Today, at the Mountain Thunder Lodge, we heard one of the band members frantically calling his bandmates to find out their location, as their progress was ground to a halt with both directions of I-70 being closed at the same time.  Now, I've lived in Breckenridge since 1996 and have never heard of this happening.  It's usually one or the other, but not both.  At the same time.

One thing we constantly tell brides who book us for Vail and Beaver Creek jobs is that the road could close at any time, especially during the winter.  Our mountain roads are actually very-well maintained, but there seems to be a lot of user error out there lately.  Regardless, you just have to consider whether or not your vendors need to travel to your event, and if so, how far and when do they plan to arrive.  Not only does this apply to Denver vendors traveling to the mountains, but to mountain vendors traveling over passes, or for any event not in their same town.

Summer in the Rocky Mountains of Copper Mountain, Colorado.  |  photo[StacySanchez]

We left that job  to finish up another wedding in Breckenridge, hoping that all the band members would arrive safely and on time for our mutual client.  We are using Storify to show you how we warned you in an earlier post about the Art of Mountain Travel, and how you want to avoid peak travel times.  But, really, please check all the links I put in that post, and you might just save yourself a headache, and get a bonus hike in.  And then you can tell me how you used this info to maximize your time in local hills surrounding Summit County, Colorado.  That's what this blog is all about.

[HOW TO] Not Get Stuck in Traffic on I-70. The Art of Mountain Travel.

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There are a few things that are fairly typical in the mountains during the summertime.  One bit of advice that I will constantly remind everyone about is the weather pattern for this time of year.  Right now, in mid-July, you can expect to see clear skies and sun in the mornings, while the afternoons will be partly cloudy with a chance for rain.  No matter where you go, I strongly suggest packing a rain jacket regardless of  what the weather is like when you leave, because mountain weather can be unpredictable.

The other typical pattern you'll see is the mass exodus from Denver to the mountains on Fridays which can make for a slow trip up to the mountains.  On the weekends, day trippers and vacationers alike will usually create a bit of congestion on the roads, and usually moves much slower than you would like.

www.cotrip.org  |  Traveler Information Provided by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) a branch of CDOT

Today's technology now allows for no more guessing about what's happening on the highway, and allows you access to real-time information about the major travel corridors.  Two Twitter accounts that I try to share information and RT (ReTweet) whenever possible are @goI70 and another statewide Twitter handle to check out is @ColoradoDOT.

You can't get any better information than real-time travel cams and twitter feeds sharing updates about travel flows and any accidents on the roads.  Please let us know if you find anything else that will help others find their way in the mountains.  I guess you can always ask your friends on Facebook to see if they're on the highway.

www.twitter.com/@goI70  | Traffic, weather, directions, snow reports for winter and summer sports & travel on I70 mountain corridor, Interstate 70 in Colorado.

There are lots of things you can do to chew up some time while you wait for traffic to disperse itself.  Either start early (before 11 am) or head out later (after 4, maybe even as late as 6 pm).  You can also take the road less traveled, and that's to head south towards Alma and Fairplay over Hoosier Pass and then take Highway 285 back towards Denver.  Or you could head west and hit the hot springs near Buena Vista, but we'll save that for another blog...

PS - we're big online wiki fans, so here's one last online resource that we found that could be helpful for families planning their destination wedding near Breckenridge, Colorado, as Denver is the closest metro area where the major airport is just over 2 hours away.  http://wikitravel.org/en/Denver