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Snowy weather leads to multiple accidents

Winter weather advisory for La Plata County in effect until 8 p.m. today
Snow falls north of Durango on Saturday. Law enforcement urges caution on slick roads during a flood of accident and road closure reports Saturday.

Law enforcement urges caution on slick roads during a flood of accident and road closure reports Saturday.

About eight vehicles piled up Saturday morning on U.S. Highway 160 at County Road 222. The highway will be closed for several hours in both directions, said Cpl. Ivan Alvarado, spokesman for Colorado State Patrol.

One person was trapped, but CSP did not have further information about the extent of injuries.

State patrol also closed U.S. 491 in Montezuma County because of a vehicle pileup in Utah, Alvarado said.

“It is the winter. We need to take the time to slow down, make sure that our tires are what’s required for the snow and just be patient,” Alvarado said.

In Durango, Fort Lewis Police Department announced East Eighth Avenue, the front hill to FLC, was closed because of deteriorating road conditions.

Multiple accidents were reported throughout the region, including along Highway 160 east of Durango, from Farmington Hill to the Florida River, according to Durango Fire Rescue.

Durango Police Department said there was one minor vehicle accident in town around noon Saturday.

“I would suggest that people stay home unless they have to be out,” said Durango Sgt. Will Sweetwood.

The Colorado Department of Transportation CO Trip map showed snowy and icy conditions along Highway 160 and U.S. Highway 550 in La Plata County.

CDOT announced chain and traction laws in effect for Coal Bank, Molas, Red Mountain and Wolf Creek passes.

CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes urged people to know before you go.

“Everyone has a different level of comfort for driving in snowy conditions. If you can hold off on your travel plans ... we would encourage that,” she said.

The National Weather Service said a winter weather advisory will be in effect for lower elevations in La Plata County until 8 p.m.

An advisory is in effect for the San Juan Mountains until 5 a.m. Sunday.

“Overall, the snowfall rates are expected to enhance this afternoon into early evening,” said Matthew Aleksa, meteorologist. “Precipitation will come to an end late this evening toward midnight.”

Lower elevations could see 2 to 4 inches of snow, the higher foothills might receive 5 to 6 inches, and the San Juan Mountains could get 5 to 10 inches of snow.

“We’ll have periods of light snow and periods of moderate to heavy snow,” Aleksa said. “Any time you’re in heavy snow, it can impact visibility and road conditions.”

smullane@durangoherald.com

Travel information

The Colorado Department of Transportation reminds motorists to check for updated weather information:

Visit

www.cotrip.org

for real-time road conditions, highway closures, average speeds, photos, live cameras streaming traffic, trucking information and more.

Call 511 to listen to recorded information about road conditions, projected trip travel times and trucker information.

Receive free email/text alerts at

www.codot.gov/travel

; choose from a list of subscription options at the “get connected” tab.

Follow @coloradodot on Twitter for traveler information and other news.

Like CDOT at

www.facebook.com/coloradodot

to receive news and traveler information.

Visit

www.codot.gov/travel/winter-driving

to get information about road conditions, what to keep in a vehicle during the winter, how to safely pass a snowplow, commercial-vehicle requirements, seasonal closures, snow removal and avalanche control.

Herald Staff

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