I-70 Right Lanes Now Open West of Fruita

June 20, 2011 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - High water has receded below bridge girders, crews will continue clean-up efforts.

GRAND JUNCTION – The Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews have re-opened the right (outside) lanes of east- and westbound I-70 at mile point 16.7 west of Fruita. The lanes had been closed since June 3 (June 6 for eastbound) due to high water under the bridge. I-70 passes over the Colorado River in this location, in an area known as Skipper’s Island. The water has receded to about 2 inches below the bridge girders (horizontal support structures under the bridge deck).

The right-lane closures were in place, 24/7, to enable maintenance crews to stage equipment and man the area. A backhoe was on site to help crews remove any debris that impacted the bridge girder (on the westbound side), to decrease the chance of flooding onto the bridge deck. Initially, water levels had risen more than 12 feet, putting the water about 12 inches up onto the bridge girder (During “normal” flow, this short channel of the Colorado River runs about 10 feet below the bridge—in August and September, it is all but dry.)

The water continued to rise to 24” (and beyond) onto the girder. Crews consistently removed large debris along the bridge’s girder on the westbound side—thus far, about two tandem dump truck loads (or about 20 cubic yards) of debris has been captured and hauled off. Debris has included large logs, tires, rafts and more. Crews will continue to clear material that has gathered in the area, as well as repair/replace about 20 feet of embankment that was lost—‘rip rap,’ or rock material will be used on the embankments.

When flooding conditions throughout the region subside, further information will be sent regarding impacts and repairs in other areas.

For information about other CDOT projects, the public may log on to www.cotrip.org or call 511 from anywhere in the state. Also, the public and media can sign up for FREE highway information updates by logging onto www.coloradodot.info and selecting the green phone icon in the upper right-hand corner.