I-70 remains closed near Glenwood Springs Wednesday night
Interstate 70 remained closed Wednesday following a massive rockslide early Monday morning in Glenwood Canyon east of Glenwood Springs that forced motorists onto a long detour north into Routt County.
The initial rockslide occurred at 2:30 a.m. Feb. 15. A second slide incident occurred in the same location Monday night at approximately 9:03 p.m. at milepost 124.2 directly west of Hanging Lake Tunnel, eight miles east of Glenwood Springs. Official press releases state no injuries were reported.
Officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) closed I-70 Monday evening at 10:07 p.m. and had a Geohazard team clearing the site and conducting evaluations from a helicopter. The rockslide resulted in damage to the roadway, retaining wall and a bridge and guardrail.
Officials were uncertain as to when the interstate would reopen but an alternate route for westbound traffic was scheduled to head north on Highway 131 from Wolcott to Steamboat Springs before heading west on Highway 40 to Craig and then heading back south on Highway 13 to Rifle before rejoining with I-70. The alternate route is 67 additional miles and should take most motorists 45 minutes. An additional southern detour route was also highlighted for drivers.
Officials from CDOT issued an additional press release Wednesday evening stating they hope to have I-70 open to single-lane alternating traffic by Thursday afternoon but were making no promises. Rock scaling operations were held throughout Wednesday. “Safety is our number one priority,” stated CDOT Communications Director Amy Ford. State officials hope to use a pilot car configuration for a six-mile stretch of the interstate near the Hanging Lake Tunnel once the site has been deemed safe for travel.
Full repairs on the project could take some time and CDOT is estimating a possible time frame of “several weeks” before the roadway and retaining walls are repaired to a level that will allow regular traffic operations.
Some motorists heading out of Denver opted to head north before reaching Wolcott. Shelly McManus, Executive Director of the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce, said that several local businesses in west Grand had seen an modest uptick in business since the initial slides on Monday.
“The Rocky Mountain Bar and Grill saw an uptick yesterday but not as much today,” McManus said. McManus indicated that the Kremmling Mercantile store had also seen a slight increase in business in the days following the rockslide in Glenwood Canyon.
According to CDOT the average daily traffic through Glenwood Canyon is around 300 vehicles per hour. At the time of the incident traffic was at a level of about 150 vehicles per hour.
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