Holiday travel bump at Eisenhower sign of economic recovery

Labor Day weekend proved to be a busy one at the Eisenhower Tunnel.

In the four days, from Friday to Monday, 172,839 vehicles passed through the tunnel, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. It was not a record, but it was the second highest count for Labor Day weekend in the past seven years.

The 2007 Labor Day weekend had 177,752 vehicles pass through the tunnel, which is on Interstate 70 east of Silverthorne.

In 2008, 166,535 vehicles passed through the tunnel Labor Day weekend, according to the Transportation Department.

The numbers are an encouraging economic sign, according to AAA Colorado.

“Right around 12 percent of the population in the mountain states was planning to drive 50 or more miles away (during the holiday weekend),” AAA Colorado spokeswoman Wave Dreher said.

She said that percent represents 2.6 million travellers.

“Consumers are feeling more optimistic, and they are finally willing to spend more on travel,” she said. “It will be very interesting to see what happens during the winter holidays.”

The main reason for the increase in travelers, Dreher said, is the decrease in the cost of travel — 11.7 percent less in the third quarter of this year compared to the third quarter of 2008.

According to AAA Web site fuelgaugereport.com, the average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the state is $2.49, compared with $3.72 during the same period a year ago.


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