Colorado DOT to study allowing hazmat trucks to travel through I-70’s Eisenhower Tunnel

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The Colorado DOT will study the feasibility of allowing hazmat loads to travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70. (CDOT photo)The Colorado DOT will study the feasibility of allowing hazmat loads to travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70. (CDOT photo)

A new law in Colorado requires the state’s Department of Transportation to conduct a study about whether trucks hauling hazardous materials should be allowed to drive through the Eisenhower-Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I-70.

Currently, trucks hauling hazmat are banned from using the tunnel and must use Loveland Pass (U.S. Highway 6), except when the pass is closed during adverse winter conditions. In these situations, Colorado DOT closes the tunnel to all other traffic and escorts the hazmat loads through the tunnel.

The law, signed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on April 9, requires CDOT to study the feasibility of allowing hazmat transportation through the tunnel and to report on whether and under what conditions hazmat through the tunnel should be allowed. The law calls for the report to be completed by Dec. 1, 2020.

The tunnel is approximately 1.7 miles long, according to CDOT. A report from Summit Daily notes that local safety officials are concerned that a fire or other hazmat hazard in the center of the tunnel could create difficulties for people getting out of the tunnel and emergency personnel getting into the tunnel.

The trucking industry in Colorado is in favor of allowing hazmat trucks to travel through the tunnel due to the difficulty of traversing Loveland Pass, especially in the winter, according to Colorado Motor Carrier Association President Greg Fulton.

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