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Blast of winter weather causes problems amid post Christmas travel rush

Shelter has been opened in Burlington
Posted at 4:09 PM, Dec 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-29 10:08:22-05

DENVER — A winter storm was causing slick roads and prompting highway closures along the Front Range and eastern plains on Saturday night.

CDOT crews set up a roadblock at I-70 and Airpark Road after adverse conditions forced the closure of I-70 from that interchange all the way to the Kansas State Line.

Most of the drivers exiting the freeway were being told to turn around.

"Where are you headed," asked one CDOT worker.

"To Bennett," replied a driver.

"To Bennett? You have ID?" the worker asked.

Local residents who live in the Watkins and Bennett areas are being let through on Highway 36.

Those traveling beyond will have to wait until conditions improve and I-70 reopens.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is asking motorists not to attempt to travel on the closed portions of the roadway. A shelter for stranded travelers has been opened in Burlington at the Community Center, 340 S. 14th Street.

Blowing snow and slick conditions made driving treacherous along Pena Boulevard earlier in the day.

"Right around the airport, it's pretty bad," said driver Todd Mees. "It has been pretty icy. It's slick."

Mees watched a car slide off the road in front of him as he drove to the cell phone lot near the airport. An Oregon couple in a rental car was looking to fill up on their way out of town.

Mees gave the couple a ride to the airport while the rental car company picked up the car.

As if getting to the airport wasn't tricky enough, once some passengers arrived, they found their flight was significantly delayed or canceled. As of 4 p.m., Denver International Airport saw at least 790 delays and 116 cancellations due to weather conditions.

The storm will exit the state early Sunday, and skies will begin to clear.