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April 30, 2024

Bipartisan Velasco Bill to Improve Safety, Keep Traffic Flowing on Mountain Highways Passes

DENVER, CO - The House today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representative Elizabeth Velasco that would improve safety and keep traffic flowing on Colorado’s mountain highways. SB24-100 passed by a vote of 60-4. 

“My community of Glenwood Springs experiences the most accidents of the entire stretch of I-70, and road closures due to these accidents can have negative consequences on our businesses and the safety of our residents,” said Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, D-Glenwood Springs. “When I-70 is closed, employees can’t make it to work and first responders can’t address an emergency in a timely manner. The goal of our bill is to reduce accidents on I-70 so we can keep our roads open and communities safe.”

SB24-100 also sponsored by Representative Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, would improve safety by allowing the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to establish a zone with increased speeding fines for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in Glenwood Canyon. 

The bill would also ban CMVs from driving in the left lane on I-70 in several key stretches where crashes are most frequent and disruptive, exceptions are permitted  to pass vehicles going under the speed limit.

According to CDOT, CMVs represent about 7 percent of traffic, but account for more than 52 percent of traffic incidents. Wrecks involving CMVs take nearly twice as long to clear as passenger incidents. 

SB24-100 would further expand locations where CDOT may require traction equipment from parts of I-70 to key mountainous stretches of other state and U.S. highways. The bill would also give port of entry officers the powers of a peace officer when enforcing highway closures and direct CDOT to study additional locations for chain-up and chain-down stations.

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