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Colorado stalls winter tire legislation

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Disagreements over Colorado’s proposed winter tire bill have stalled the legislation altogether, and the state Senate has called for officials to study the issue for another year.

Senate Republicans wondered how the bill would be enforced, and one critic, in what was viewed as a way to kill the bill, expanded its reach beyond the original 126-mile stretch of Interstate 70 west of Denver to all state highways that go over mountain passes.

Ultimately, the Senate changed the wording to ask for a study of the issue, something cosponsors of the bill in the House see as unnecessary. The bill is now back in the hands of the House.

State Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush and Bob Rankin introduced the bill with a goal of improving traffic on I-70 through the Rocky Mountains during the winter season. Heavy snow often reduces traffic to a single lane, and the road – the only route from Denver to many of Colorado’s ski communities – is frequently closed due to vehicles unable to navigate the road in those treacherous conditions.

The original version of the bill would have allowed drivers with snow tires or all-season tires with a tread depth of at least 4/32 of an inch to continue on the road from Nov. 1-May 15. Carrying tire chains or driving a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle also would have satisfied the requirements. But even that was watered down eventually. The specific timeline for the requirements was eliminated and the rules would only be in effect when the Colorado Department of Transportation posted signs and issued alerts.

For more about the Colorado tire bill’s various incarnations, read:

Winter tire bill lacks bite

Colorado's winter tire bill remains weak

Riddle me this: Why are legislators ignoring tires?

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