(Photo: iStockphoto.com)
Officials at the Colorado Department of Transportation say travelers should expect heavy traffic on Interstate Highway 70 beginning Thursday afternoon for the July Fourth holiday weekend.

CDOT says heavy westbound traffic along the I-70 corridor will begin around noon on Thursday and last through 9 p.m., with peak travel delays between 3-7 p.m.

On Friday, motorists should expect heavy westbound traffic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Independence Day, with peak travel around noon.

Motorists returning from the mountain corridor on Sunday should allow for extra time or plan to travel earlier in the day.

CDOT says eastbound I-70 traffic starts to back up around 9 a.m., with peak delays between noon and 2 p.m.

Highway officials use historical data to calculate peak hours and warn that conditions can vary.

According to CDOT, westbound travel times on July 3, 2013, peaked at 97 minutes in the late afternoon while travel times for westbound traffic surpassed 100 minutes on July 4 for the noon hour.

Visit the COTrip.org for current road conditions and traffic information.