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Colorado DOT Promotes Safe Winter Driving

October 5, 2009

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The Colorado Department of Transportation is promoting safe winter driving along Interstate 70 by reminding motorists of the chain law.
The state's current chain law requires a commercial vehicle operating on I-70 between milepost 133 and milepost 259 to carry sufficient chains from September 1 through May 31.

"Over the years, there have been changes to the chain law and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has implemented new programs along the I-70 west corridor that have helped clear the highway faster and keep traffic moving in inclement weather," said Tony DeVito, CDOT region transportation director. "While these programs help, we still need the cooperation of the traveling public to follow chain laws and safe winter driving practices."

Commercial vehicles exceeding 26,000 Gross Vehicle Weight or vehicles carrying 16 passengers or more will have the option of using AutoSock, a traction control device, in place of chains. AutoSock is a fabric that slips over a vehicle's outer driving wheels, and can be installed over the tire in less time than traditional chains.

The state's chain law, which applies to all state, federal and Interstate highways, has two levels. The first level requires all single drive axle combinations commercial vehicles to chain up. All four drive wheels must be chained, and cables are not permitted as an alternate traction device. All other commercial vehicles must have snow tires or chains. The first level may be implemented any time there is snow covering any part of the traveled portion of pavement on an ascending grade.

The second level requires all commercial vehicles to chain up. Auto transports must comply to the extent possible without causing damage to hydraulic lines. Buses must chain two drive wheels to comply. Level two may be implemented any time there is snow covering the entire traveled portion of pavement on an ascending grade or when driving conditions dictate this level is necessary to protect safety and minimize closures.

CDOT has 21 chain stations along the I-70 west corridor, including 11 on eastbound I-70 and 10 on the westbound side. The Department will offer its heavy tow program this year, which is designed to clear disabled heavy trucks from the highway in order to open the road more quickly.

"This has been a very successful program and we are pleased that we have the resources to continue it this winter," said DeVito. "Removing a large truck from the highway used to take about an hour, but through the heavy tow program, we are generally able to clear the highway, within 20 to 30 minutes."

More info: www.cotrip.org

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