This week, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) issued a reminder to drivers about “sun glare season” triggering early morning safety closures on I-70.
From November through February, sun glare can cause dangerous driving conditions on eastbound I-70 at Floyd Hill during the early morning hours.
“The sun’s angle, in combination with the hill and the highway’s configuration, can create a blinding sun glare for drivers as they head eastbound up Floyd Hill (about Mile Points 244 to 248 – east of Idaho Springs). The intense sun glare occurs as far east as Genesee beginning around sunrise and lasting until around 8:30 a.m.,” CDOT said in a November 3 news release.
Most of the I-70 sun glare closures last 45 minutes to an hour between sunrise and 8:30 a.m.
The sun glare combined with mountain driving conditions including steep hills, sharp turns, and unknown scenarios such as wildlife crossing the highway can prove to be too dangerous for drivers, CDOT says.
CDOT and Colorado State Patrol officials decide on a case-by-case basis each day whether the sun glare is too dangerous for drivers on eastbound I-70. If the sun glare is deemed dangerous, drivers are provided with advance notification of the potential hazard or road closures with messages on CDOT electronic sign boards prior to Floyd Hill, east of the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel.
If eastbound I-70 is closed for sun glare, CDOT offers the following detours:
- Traffic headed eastbound on I-70 will be rerouted at Exit 244 (US 6) which is at the bottom of Floyd Hill.
- Motorists can either stay the course on US 6 through Clear Creek Canyon, or they can take the eastbound I-70 frontage road (US 40) and get back onto I-70 at Beaver Brook (Exit 248).Truckers should be aware, there are height restrictions in the tunnels along US 6 Clear Creek Canyon, therefore no vehicles over 12′ 7″ can travel this route.
Other sun glare driving tips from CDOT include:
- Adjust your eastbound I-70 travel plans near Floyd Hill to before sunrise or later in the morning. If possible, avoid traveling eastbound up Floyd Hill between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on sunny days November through February.
- Make sure your windshield is clean – inside and out. Ensure your vehicle has plenty of windshield wiper fluid.
- Wear a good pair of sunglasses to provide shading.
- Expect traffic slowdowns between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. along I-70 eastbound near Floyd Hill, and adjust your speed to avoid sudden reactions.
- Let off the accelerator and slow down gradually instead of slamming on the brakes, if suddenly blinded by the sun.
- Road conditions can change quickly at this time of year. Drivers can check the latest road and weather conditions by going to COtrip.org.
- For more information visit codot.gov/travel/sunglare