Attention Drivers: Beware of Sun Glare on I-70 Mountain Corridor
Are you prepared for sun glare season? As early November approaches and the time change marks the beginning of this challenging period, it is crucial for drivers to be aware of the potential dangers ahead. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado State Patrol (CSP) want to ensure your safety by reminding you about the possible safety closures due to sun glare on eastbound I-70 at Floyd Hill. These closures typically occur from November through February each year, particularly in the early morning hours.
The specific location where sun glare can become a hazard for drivers is between Mile Points 244 and 248, east of Idaho Springs, as they travel eastbound up Floyd Hill. The combination of the sun’s angle, the hill’s incline, and the highway’s configuration contribute to a blinding sun glare that can affect motorists as far east as Genesee. This glare usually starts around sunrise and lasts until approximately 8:30 a.m.
To ensure drivers are informed and prepared, CDOT provides advance notification through electronic sign boards prior to Floyd Hill, alerting motorists about the sun glare and encouraging them to anticipate slower speeds. If you are traveling eastbound on I-70 during the early morning hours in the fall and winter, pay attention to the overhead message boards just east of the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel. Additionally, for the latest travel alerts, you can visit COtrip.org.
It is crucial to understand that the sun glare closures at Floyd Hill are implemented solely for the safety of the traveling public. Every morning, a case-by-case decision is made by CSP and CDOT personnel stationed near Floyd Hill. The intense sun glare can blind motorists, especially when moisture from a storm or pre-storm road treatment materials is present on the roadway. Furthermore, mountain driving conditions pose additional risks, including steep hills, sharp turns, and potential wildlife crossings. Therefore, the sun glare safety closures at Floyd Hill are necessary to ensure the well-being of drivers. This joint effort between CSP and CDOT aims to keep motorists as safe as possible.
In the event of a sun glare safety closure during your morning commute along eastbound I-70, a detour route will be in place. Traffic heading eastbound on I-70 will be rerouted at Exit 244 (US 6), located at the bottom of Floyd Hill. Motorists can choose to continue on US 6 through Clear Creek Canyon or take the eastbound I-70 frontage road (US 40) and rejoin I-70 at Beaver Brook (Exit 248). It is important to note that there are height restrictions in the tunnels along US 6 Clear Creek Canyon, so freight trucks are advised to use US 40 as an alternative. If you opt for the US 40 detour, pay attention to the work zone for the US 40 Roundabouts project and exercise caution, even though active work is not expected during the sun glare safety closures.
On average, the closures last for approximately 45 minutes to an hour and can occur between sunrise and 8:30 a.m. from November through February each year.
To further enhance your safety, here are some additional recommendations for drivers:
1. Adjust your eastbound I-70 travel plans near Floyd Hill to before sunrise or later in the morning, if possible. Expect sun glare safety closures if you are traveling eastbound up Floyd Hill between sunrise and 8:30 a.m. on sunny days from November through February.
2. Ensure your windshield is clean both inside and out, and make sure your vehicle has an ample supply of windshield wiper fluid.
3. Wear a good pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the bright sunlight.
4. Anticipate traffic slowdowns between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. along I-70 eastbound near Floyd Hill, and adjust your speed accordingly to avoid sudden reactions.
5. If suddenly blinded by the sun, release the accelerator and gradually slow down instead of slamming on the brakes.
6. Be aware that road conditions can change rapidly during this time of year. Stay informed about the latest road and weather conditions by visiting COtrip.org.
7. For more information, visit codot.gov/travel/sunglare.
To get the best out of your travels, it is always recommended to “know before you go.” Prior to hitting the road, gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts, and current road conditions. CDOT offers various resources for this purpose:
Additionally, let’s not forget the importance of staying safe in maintenance and construction work zones. CDOT emphasizes the following tips to ensure your safety:
1. Observe the posted speed limits and avoid speeding in work zones.
2. Stay alert and expect the unexpected.
3. Look out for workers and drive with caution.
4. Refrain from unnecessary lane changes.
5. Avoid using mobile devices, such as phones, while driving in work zones.
6. Turn on your headlights to increase visibility for workers and other drivers.
7. Exercise extra vigilance while driving in work zones at night.
8. Be prepared for possible delays, particularly during peak travel times.
9. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
10. Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
11. Patience is key!
As a valuable resource for travelers, CDOT has developed the COtrip Planner mobile app. This app provides real-time traffic information statewide and is compatible with iOS and Android platforms. Download the app from the Google Play Store (for Android devices) or the Apple Store (for iOS devices) for seamless access to essential travel information.
It is crucial for your safety and the safety of others to remain cautious and prepared during sun glare season on I-70 Mountain Corridor. By following these recommendations and staying informed, you can ensure a smoother and safer journey. Remember, your safety is of paramount importance on the road. Safe travels!