Blowing snow, ice close state highways
December 31, 2007
DENVER ” Blowing, falling snow on icy, snowpacked roads slowed heavy traffic to a crawl on Interstate 70 near the Eisenhower Tunnel, before officials closed the highway in both directions Sunday evening.
The main route between Denver and many of the state’s major ski resorts was closed between Silverthorne and Georgetown around 5:30 p.m. due to poor weather.
The American Red Cross opened two shelters in the mountains, one in Kremmling and one in Silverthorne, for stranded travelers.
P.J. Bailey, 24, left Breckenridge to head home to Denver around 1 p.m., but nearly four hours later, she was no further than Georgetown.
“I was told it would get better, but a mile east of Georgetown, there were whiteout conditions. You couldn’t even see the front of your car,” she said. She pulled onto a shoulder for about 15 minutes but finally decided to head back to Georgetown for the night after watching ambulances drive past.
She was searching for a hotel room Sunday evening. The Super 8 Motel was already sold out.
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“You should see this town. There’s people stopped everywhere,” she said.
Hunter Miller left his home in Grand Junction around 10:15 a.m. with tickets for a Denver Nuggets game Sunday night, but got caught in stop-and-go ski traffic and snow around Vail Pass. It took about five hours to go the 52 miles between Vail and Georgetown, he said.
He and his wife decided to spend the night in Georgetown.
“The weather was so bad, and I’d been in the car so long,” said Miller, 25. “I didn’t want to drive any more. I didn’t want to risk it.”
U.S. 6 was closed over Loveland Pass over the tunnel until Monday morning, also due to poor weather, said Ted Hill of the Colorado Department of Transportation.
U.S. 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass and also Berthoud Pass was closed due to poor weather and accidents.
Snow, ice and accidents also closed Colorado 134 at Gore Pass, Colorado 14 near Walden and U.S. 160 near Walsenburg.
U.S. 287 and U.S. 85, which lead to Wyoming, were closed due to adverse weather conditions there. Northbound Interstate 25 was closed north of Wellington, about 25 miles from the Wyoming state line.