I-70 closed in both directions due to multiple crashes and winter weather

Interstate 70, one of the main highways in Colorado, was shut down in both directions on Friday afternoon due to multiple crashes and adverse driving conditions. The closure affected several mountain passes and caused long delays for travelers.

Vail Pass closed for safety concerns

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced at 2 p.m. that I-70 was closed in both directions between East Vail and Vail Pass Summit for safety concerns and multiple crashes. The closure spanned about 10 miles and affected both eastbound and westbound traffic.

According to CDOT, wet snow had frozen and caused icy conditions on the interstate in Jefferson and Clear Creek counties. Visibility was also limited due to blowing snow and wind gusts of up to 75 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

CDOT advised travelers to avoid the area and use alternate routes if possible. No estimated time of reopening was available.

Other mountain passes also affected by winter weather

Vail Pass was not the only mountain pass that was closed due to the winter weather. CDOT also reported that Colo. 9 over Hoosier Pass and U.S. 285 over Kenosha Pass were closed in both directions due to adverse driving conditions.

I-70 closed in both directions due

Hoosier Pass connects Breckenridge and Fairplay, while Kenosha Pass connects Jefferson and Bailey. Both passes are popular scenic routes for tourists and locals alike.

CDOT also closed westbound I-70 between Vail Pass Summit and Copper Mountain, or exits 190 and 195, at 2:18 p.m. The closure affected about five miles of the highway and added to the congestion in the area.

Bus driver injured in crash involving semi-truck

One of the crashes that led to the closure of I-70 involved a bus and a semi-truck. The crash occurred around 1 p.m. on the eastbound lanes between East Vail and Officers Gulch.

The bus driver had to be extricated from the wreckage, according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). The driver was taken to the hospital with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. No other injuries were reported.

The CSP said the crash was under investigation and the cause was not yet determined. The CSP urged travelers to avoid mountain travel this weekend due to the dangerous conditions.

More snow expected in the mountains

The winter weather that caused the closures and crashes was not over yet. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the mountains until 6 a.m. on Saturday. The warning covered areas above 9,000 feet in elevation, including Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, and Winter Park.

The weather service said an additional 6 to 12 inches of snow was expected in the mountains, with locally higher amounts possible. The snow was expected to be heavy and wet, which could increase the risk of avalanches and power outages.

The weather service also said travel would be very difficult to impossible in the mountains, especially on I-70, and advised travelers to postpone their trips until the storm passes.

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