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Colorado's winter tire bill remains weak

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Colorado’s Senate Transportation Committee has approved a tire bill intended to keep traffic moving on the state’s primary route to ski communities in the Rocky Mountains during the snowy season.

The bill, as approved by the committee, would require drivers on the 126-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between Morrison and Dotsero to drive a vehicle with:

-Tire chains or an approved traction-control device,

-Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with tires that have a tread depth of 4/32 of an inch, or

-Tires imprinted by a manufacturer with the mountain snowflake symbol, M&S, M+S or M/S symbol with a tread depth of 4/32 of an inch.

An earlier version of the bill would have mandated those rules from Nov. 1 to May 15. The Senate committee changed it to whenever “icy or snowpacked conditions are present.” The Colorado Department of Transportation then will erect signs to alert motorists of the requirements, and also will publish the requirements when they are in effect on its website and social media accounts.

The bill, already approved by the House, now awaits a vote by the full Senate. Its sponsors, Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush and Bob Rankin, said the bill was geared toward improving traffic flow on I-70 during the snowy season. Heavy snow, accidents and vehicles ill-equipped to traverse the route often result in road congestion and the highway being closed, thus cutting off many communities from the only route to Denver.

The state already requires commercial vehicles to operate with chains during such storm events.

To read more about the Colorado bill, read Winter tire bill lacks bite.

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