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Heads up – Colorado’s updated chain law is in effect

Colorado’s new chain law institutes a “must-carry” requirement and increased penalties for violations.

The law, updated this year by the Legislature, mandates that commercial vehicles operating on Interstate 70 between the Edwards exit at mile marker 163 and the Morrison exit at mile marker 259 must carry sufficient chains from Sept. 1 through May 31 to be in compliance with the Colorado chain law.

Commercial truck drivers who do not carry chains along that route during the specified season will be fined $50 plus a $17 surcharge. Statewide, the fine for not chaining up when the chain law requires it is $500 with a $157 surcharge. The fine for not chaining up and subsequently blocking the highway is $1,000 plus a $313 surcharge.

According to CDOT’s Region One Transportation Director Jeff Kullman, the state will have additional and safer chain-up and down areas. On eastbound I-70, new and/or expanded sites include:

  • Frisco Scenic Overlook, mile marker 203;
  • East of Silverthorne Interchange, mile marker 205;
  • Herman Gulch, mile marker 219 east of the Eisenhower Tunnel;
  • West of the Twin Tunnels, mile marker 241 east of Idaho Springs; and
  • El Rancho, mile marker 251.

New and/or expanded chain-up sites on westbound I-70 include:

  • Denver West, mile marker 263;
  • West of Colorado Route 470, mile marker 260;
  • Buffalo Overlook, mile marker 254;
  • Georgetown, mile marker 228;
  • West of Bakerville Interchange, mile marker 221; and
  • West of the Eisenhower Tunnel, mile marker 213.

Colorado’s chain law applies to all state, federal and interstate highways and was initially enacted in 1996. It includes two levels for commercial vehicles.

Chain Law Level 1 requires all single drive axle combination commercial vehicles to chain up. All four drive wheels must be chained; cables are not permitted as an alternate traction device. All other commercial vehicles must have snow tires or chains. Level 1 may be implemented any time there is snow covering any part of the traveled portion of pavement on an ascending grade.

Chain Law Level 2 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 2 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. LL