Heavy snow causes headaches for I-70 travelers
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Alex Nimmo was planning on a quick drop-off at the Vail Transportation Center when heavy snow, wet roads and multiple car accidents on Interstate 70 caused him to take the long route through Leadville Friday.
The messy roads had eastbound Interstate 70 closed from Avon to Vail Pass Friday afternoon. Cars were bumper-to-bumper along both the Interstate and the Highway 6 alternate route as people tried to get through Dowd Junction. The freeway through the valley along with Vail Pass re-opened by 5 p.m. Friday.
Nimmo, a Colorado Mountain Express driver, was trying to bring one passenger from downvalley to the Vail Transportation Center – the woman’s family was picking her up there to then drive to Breckenridge.
Nimmo was left with just one option to get his passenger to her family – Highway 24 through Minturn and Leadville, then back down to Copper Mountain.
Nimmo was scheduled to pick up more guests at Denver International Airport later Friday, and said he was going to continue east after his Copper Mountain stop.
“I’m still heading to Denver, unless it gets even worse,” Nimmo said.
Nimmo was parked on the side of the road, near the Kayak Crossing bus stop on Highway 6, talking to other Colorado Mountain Express drivers who were also trying to figure out alternate routes.
Marcos Camhis and his girlfriend Sophia Zervos were heading to Denver in one of the Colorado Mountain Express vans to catch a flight to Europe. Instead of trying to figure out how to get to Denver, the couple decided to stay in Beaver Creek one more night and try again to get to Denver Saturday morning.
“We still have family staying in Beaver Creek so we’re lucky enough to be able to stay with them,” Camhis said.
The couple rebooked a flight out of Denver for Saturday morning that connects in Washington before heading to Geneva, Switzerland – they wouldn’t even be able to enjoy a powder day after all of the travel obstacles.
An Eagle County Transit bus was also stopped at the Kayak Crossing stop Friday afternoon – driver Anita Percifield was on the phone with her boss trying to figure out what to do. Traffic was not moving on Highway 6 heading east, and she was driving the bus route heading to Vail.
Percifield said her boss told her to turn around and start heading back toward Edwards.
“It’s better than sitting around in traffic doing nothing,” she said.
Some of Percifield’s passengers were getting off at the Kayak Crossing exit and walking east along Highway 6 – they were trying to get to work in Vail and figured getting off the bus was their best option.
Carlos Ordonez works at Pepi’s in Vail Village and thought he’d have a better chance of making it to work if he got off the bus. He’d try to hitch a ride or he’d just keep walking, he said. Ordonez’s friend, Cantina Jose Rodriguez, followed along with the plan and hoped to Vail somehow.
Jeremy Hix, a Minturn resident who was heading to Edwards, decided to turn around and head back home when he saw the traffic jams – he didn’t want to get stuck later.
“I figured if the roads are this terrible, I might as well go home and sit down and relax,” Hix said.
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