ALERT: Colorado’s ‘Chain Law’ Now in Effect, Violators Could Pay As Much As $650

Denver, CO – Though it’s still technically summer for three more weeks, Colorado’s “Chain Law” officially began on Wednesday… and here’s what you need to know.

From September 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022, all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) traveling on Interstate 70 between mile markers 133 (Dotsero exit) and 259 (Morrison exit) are required to “carry sufficient chains to be in compliance” with the chain law, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).


CDOT states metal chains must consist of two circular metal loops, one on each side of the tire, connected by not less than nine evenly-spaced chain loops across the tread.

CMVs that have four or more drive wheels must chain four wheels.

Dual tire chains are acceptable.

Chains are NOT required for trailers.

Whenever the chain law is deemed necessary to go into effect, CDOT says motorists will be notified via electronic message signs (pictured above), 511 traveler information, local media and online at


According to CDOT, the fine for not chaining up when the chain law is in effect is $100 plus a $32 surcharge.

That jumps to a $500 fine with a $156 surcharge if a violation results in the closure of one or more traffic lanes.

Colorado’s chain law applies to all state, federal and interstate highways, and was initially enacted in 1996.


Keep in mind I-70’s Eisenhower Tunnel (which crosses the Continental Divide) tops out at 11,158 feet, according to CDOT, so at elevations that high, it’s not uncommon for Colorado to see snow as early as August.


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