Traffic through the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel Sunday afternoon was near record levels, but thinned out later in the day.
Sunday’s hourly count at 2 p.m. the tenth-busiest on record
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Sunday afternoon’s eastbound traffic on I-70 cracked the top-ten hourly record book — but just barely. Tunnel managers announced Monday that 3,070 vehicles passed through the eastbound portal between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
All the top ten hourly counts are within a few hundred vehicles of each other, with the highest-ever hourly count recorded (3,450) on Sept. 4, 1995.
For the month, a total of 1,052,44 cars made the trip westbound and eastbound, down about 16,700 from a year ago.
For the three-day period of Jan. 29 – Jan 31, 2010, 136,757 vehicles use the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels, making it the seventh-highest winter weekend count on record.
Travelers Sunday reported that it took up to three hours to make the trip from Silverthorne to Idaho Springs. Tunnel managers tried to prevent backups inside the tunnel by metering traffic on the eastbound approach. Signs on Highway 6 near Keystone indicated Sunday afternoon that travelers could expect 20 minute stoppages to let traffic on the east side clear.
Local elected officials have said they want to talk with CDOT officials about tunnel traffic management, as they expressed concerns about big delays on the eastbound approach. CDOT managers said they are using the same polices as they have for 15 years, but that they’ve become more pro-active about communicating the stoppages.
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