Intermittent closures of I-70 announced for helicopter operations

September 21, 2015 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 -Intermittent closures of less than 20 minutes to take place Wednesday, September 2, and Tuesday, September 29.

GARFIELD COUNTY/GLENWOOD CANYON— The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced that  there will be intermittent closures of Interstate 70 between Grizzly Creek, Mile Marker (MM) 121, and Hanging Lake Tunnel (MM 125), on Wednesday, September 23rd, and Tuesday, September 29th, for helicopter operations in Glenwood Canyon. CDOT anticipates between five and seven stops per day, each lasting less than 20 minutes.  These stops will occur approximately every hour beginning shortly after 8a.m. Stops will include pedestrian stops along the Glenwood Canyon bike path.  

“This is one of the last major hurdles we face in completing this project on time,” Adam Cornely, CDOT project engineer, said. “A helicopter will be lifting 1,200lbs of rockfall fencing materials into place between 100 ft. and 400 ft. above the roadway. Helicopter operations can be delicate in nature, so closing the road intermittently strikes the best balance between safety and keeping traffic moving.”

Crews are making every effort to minimize impacts to traffic. These short stops will take place a maximum of once per hour, and begin at 8 a.m. in an attempt to maximize the helicopters production during peak weather conditions.  All helicopter operations are extremely weather dependent, and may require additional stops and days for helicopter work.

Drivers are asked to be aware that the helicopter will be operating in Glenwood Canyon several hundred feet above the roadway.  During these times, traffic will remain open. CDOT advises drivers to remain focused on the road and follow all traffic regulations in the work zone.

Stops on the Interstate will only be performed when the helicopter lands, primarily for refueling.  These stops will occur a safe distance away from the landing zone.  

Drivers accessing the live westbound lane between Grizzly Creek (MM 121) and Shoshone (MM 123), not mainline Interstate 70, are to expect a greater amount of stops through the days the helicopter is operating.  Given the closer proximity of the westbound lane to helicopter operations a greater amount of stops may be required.

This work is part of a $7.3 million project, which was awarded to Truesdell Corporation. In addition to rock fall fence replacements, the project includes bridge rail, and bridge deck repairs.

Normal work hours are Monday through Friday during daylight hours. Some night and weekend work is anticipated. There is a 24-7 wide-load restriction of 10 feet, which will remain in place through October.

CDOT would like to remind motorists to Slow for the Cone Zone. Fines will be doubled within the work zone. If you have questions or concerns about this project, please call the project hotline at 970-930-8009 or email

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