New Colorado law excludes trucks from left lane, expands chain use

Updated May 27, 2024
Left Lane No Trucks sign

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation recently with provisions that will impact trucking.

The bill:

  • changes the location of the state's mandatory chain use requirements, and requires a study of possible expansion of locations for mandatory chain use
  • creates a heightened speed enforcement zone in Glenwood Canyon highways
  • makes it illegal for commercial vehicles to operate in the left lane in several locations

“Ensuring that our roads and highways are safe is important, especially here in Colorado’s high country, and these bills help accomplish that," said Polis when signing the bill into law. "I appreciate the work of the sponsors on this legislation and look forward to making our roads safer by signing these bills."

The bill identifies seven locations on the western slope where chain use is required for commercial motor vehicles with a declared gross vehicle weight of 16,001 pounds  from Sept. 1 through May 31 of each year during any conditions that exist on the highway. Those locations include:

  • Interstate 70 west of milepost 259 (Morrison)
  • Colorado state highway 9 from milepost 63 to milepost 97 (Frisco to Fairplay)
  • U.S. Route 40 west of milepost 256 (Empire)
  • U.S. Route 50 west of milepost 225 (Salida)
  • U.S. Route 160 west of milepost 304 (Walsenburg)
  • U.S. Route 285 west of milepost 250 (Morrison)
  • U.S. Route 550 from milepost 0 to 130

The new legislation also allows the Colorado Department of Transportation to establish special speed-limit zones through Glenwood Canyon on I-70, and double fines for truckers who exceed those limits.

The law also makes it a traffic offense for any commercial vehicle to be driving in the farthest left lane on certain portions of several highways. Those locations include:

  • between milepost 115.5 and milepost 131.0 in Glenwood Springs
  • between milepost 169.5 and milepost 173.0 in Dowd junction
  • between milepost 180.0 and milepost 190.5 in Vail pass
  • between milepost 205.5 and milepost 221.0 in the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnel
  • between milepost 224.0 and milepost 228.5 in Georgetown hill
  • between milepost 243.0 and milepost 247.0 in Floyd hill 

The exception to the left lane ban on trucks is when they need to safely pass a vehicle driving under the posted speed limit. 

The law Polis signed also ensures that a port of entry officer has all the powers of a peace officer when enforcing highway closures and the state's winter traction device law.