Colorado DOT to Study Feasibility of Trucking Hazmats Through I-70 Tunnel

Gov. Jared Polis has signed bill SB19-032 into law. It requires CDOT to conduct the study of allowing transportation of hazardous materials through the Eisenhower-Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel.

Trucks carrying hazardous materials are not allowed to travel through the Eisenhower-Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel and must use Loveland Pass (US 6), by all accounts a hair-raising route. During the winter, when adverse weather frequently closes the pass, hazmat vehicles may travel through the tunnel, but for safety reasons the Colorado Department of Transportation doesn't allow hazmats to travel through the tunnel with other vehicles, so CDOT escorts waiting hazmat loads through the tunnel and closes it to other traffic at those times. But a bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis may change that.

Located about 60 miles west of Denver, the tunnel on Interstate 70 is the highest vehicular tunnel in the world, traversing through the Continental Divide at an average elevation of 11,112 feet, according to CDOT.

Signed into law by Polis on April 9, Bill SB19-032 requires CDOT to conduct a feasibility study on allowing regular transportation of hazmats through the tunnel. By the end of 2020, the agency is to complete the study and prepare a report on the findings and recommendations as to whether and under what conditions the transportation of hazardous materials through the tunnel should be allowed. The bill directs CDOT to solicit input from representatives of specified counties, towns, communities, ski resorts, industries, organizations, and emergency services providers and from the state Department of Public Safety, including representatives of that agency's Division of Fire Prevention and Control and the Colorado State Patrol, regarding the scope of the study.

Speaking to Steamboat Pilot&Today in February 2019, Greg Fulton, president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Associationdescribed Loveland Pass as one of the most hazardous roads in America, especially in winter months for truckers.

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