CDOT conducting avalanche mitigation on I-70 Sunday

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - The Colorado Department of Transportation wants drivers to be prepared for delays on I-70 starting Sunday. CDOT crews will begin helicopter operations to mitigate avalanches.

Heavy snow has triggered hundreds of avalanches in Colorado so far this month. Seven backcountry skiers have been killed and others slides have buried cars and shut down highways.

CDOT is planning snow removal operations Sunday at the following areas on I-70:

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m.: Vail Pass (mile marker 186)

  • 11 a.m.-noon: East of Copper Mountain (mile marker 196)

  • 1:30-2 p.m.: Silver Plume (mile marker 226)
  • CDOT tells 11 News drivers should prepare for closures and delays. The times above are just estimates; CDOT says due to the nature of avalanche slides, it is impossible to guess how long the closures will actually last.

    The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has placed the Front Range, Vail, Summit County, Aspen, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, and the Sahwatch range under a high avalanche warning. On Saturday, that avalanche risk area also extended to the San Juan Mountain Zones.

    The CAIC says heavy snowfall and strong winds this weekend will keep backcountry avalanche conditions very dangerous.

    CODT has the following safety tips for drivers who may encounter an avalanche or powder cloud:

    • Reduce Speeds

    • Pull over to shoulder if possible

    • Turn off your vehicle

    • Remain in your car

    • Call 911 and request help