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Snow, wind, rush-hour traffic. These are just a few of the things that some CU students have to battle to get to class. The recent blasts of snow have especially taken a toll on the commute to campus.
The tough winter is troublesome for students who do not live in Boulder and must commute. Icy conditions are not the only factor when the snow hits. Highways have become more treacherous because of hurricane-like winds blowing over U.S. 36 and Colorado Highway 93. Even in Colorado, these harsh conditions can make it tricky to avoid an accident or know the right thing to do in case you get into one.
“Last week I ended up on the phone with my mom asking her how to get to Wadsworth from [Highway] 93 so I could go up [U.S.] 36,” said Amanda Quinn, a sophomore news-editorial major.
After her commute up C-470 and 6th Avenue, Quinn found that part of 93 had been closed because of high winds and snowdrifts. She had also tried Colorado Highway 72, but found that to be in the same condition as 36. Living in Littleton, the snowstorms and hurricane-like winds can add hours to her commute time. Aside from emergency closures like these, Quinn can usually plan ahead.
“If there is snow on the ground, I check (Colorado Department of Transportation) for road conditions and leave about half an hour earlier. I also go two days a week instead of five. Five killed my mileage and gas, so I had to cut costs and go less days,” Quinn said.
Living far away also means early mornings for Quinn.
“I always have an 8 a.m. class, so this means I have to leave by at least 6:40 [a.m.], and that’s when it isn’t even snowing,” Quinn said.
While there are no special routes that a student can take to CU, Boulder officials use planning and resources to make travel safer during winter.
“Students are as much of a priority as every other commuter in Boulder. The city plows and sands priority streets such as Broadway and Baseline. Interstates are the highest priority,” said CU Police Department spokesman Brad Wiesley.
Wiesley has some suggestions for student who fight through the snow to get to campus.
“Take the safest route possible, buses, service vehicles or walk as long as it isn’t dangerously cold outside,” Wiesley said. “The rules our mothers told us still apply. Take circumstances into consideration. If it is simply too dangerous, don’t risk it. Stay at home.”
Maneuvering through and parking on campus can add extra stress when the roads are icy. This also adds the unfortunate risk of an accident. There were 40 accidents on campus last year, and the risks rise higher in storms.
“The most important thing [in the event of an accident] is to stay where you are, especially if someone is hurt. Call the police, and we will do a report and insurance will take care of the rest,” Wiesley said.
Although the recent whether is abnormal and even treacherous, students, especially those who commute, can use their best judgment in preparing for snow and deciding if the trip is really worth the risk.
“Sometimes [Highway 93] almost closes on me. If it is ever really bad, I am usually not going to school for other reasons anyways. Luckily I haven’t been blocked from going to school yet,” Quinn said.
For information on road conditions and closures during storms, visit the CDOT Web site at http://www.dot.state.co.us