CDOT Opens Glenwood Canyon with Pilot Car Escorts

February 21, 2016 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - Operation will run from opening this evening to 9:00 a.m. before full closures of canyon for several days.

GARFIELD COUNTY – Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will reopen to traffic in a pilot car configuration at approximately 6 tonight.  Pilot car operations will continue overnight until 9 a.m. Monday.  Lengthy delays of two hours or more may be possible. Today, crews brought down around 30 to 50 cubic yards of rock, with three boulders in the two to five ton range.  To date, about 400 tons of rock have been  mitigated from the site.

PILOT CAR CONFIGURATION: Eastbound traffic is routed into one-lane starting at Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) all the way to Grizzly Creek rest area where the pilot car picks up traffic. The coned off lane is for Colorado State Patrol, emergency services vehicles, law enforcement and CDOT/contractor vehicles as needed.  Westbound is placed into one-lane starting at Exit 129 (Bair Ranch) all the way to the east side of the Hanging Lake Tunnel bore where vehicles will be configured into the Pilot Car queue.


Canyon Closed to traffic for continued work: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

10 foot width restrictions in place on oversized CMV

Pilot Car escorts: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. each day until further notice.

The Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Shoshone rest areas will be closed for the duration of the pilot car operation. Bair Ranch (on the east side) and No Name (west side) rest areas will remain open. The Glenwood Canyon Bike Path remains closed as well. (Please note, local traffic coming from the west can travel as far as No Name; local traffic from the east can travel as far as Bair Ranch.)

Updates will continue to be posted on CDOT’s traveler information site at and recorded on the 511 phone line.


Front Range motorists heading westbound

US 40 north (Steamboat Springs) west on US 40 (Craig) south to CO 13 (Rifle)

Summit County/westbound motorists

CO 9 (Silverthorne) to US 40 (Steamboat Springs) west on US 40 (Craig) south to CO 13 (Rifle)

Eagle County/westbound motorists

CO 131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs, west on US 40 to Craig, then south on CO 13 to Rifle and back to I-70. This is a 203-mile alternate route that will take about three hours and 50 minutes to travel. This detour adds 146 miles and about three hours to a regular trip from Wolcott to Rifle on I-70, which is 67 miles or about 45 minutes.

South alternate route

Uses US 50. Access to US 50 is available via Grand Junction for eastbound drivers and for westbound drivers by way of US 24/285 through the Salida area from the Front Range. (Please note, there is construction on US 24 over Trout Creek Pass east of Johnson Village in Chaffee County into early March; some blasting and up to 30-minute delays may be encountered.)

Cottonwood Pass in Eagle County and Independence Pass are both closed and not available as alternate routes. Frying Pan Road and Hagerman Pass are not recommended alternate routes.

Work During Pilot Car Operations:

CDOT will move into permanent rockfall mitigation activities (adding more fencing, addressing additional potential rock fall areas, placing sensors and/or tying back certain rocks).  This work may require additional longer-term closures of the corridor to safely complete. (It is estimated that the damage caused by this rockslide event could range from $2 million to $5 million--updated information regarding this amount, scope of a repair project and funding sources will be provided in later releases when more is known.)

BUSTANG SERVICE to and from Glenwood Springs resumes on Monday.  Adjustments to the arrival and departure times from Glenwood Springs will be required due to the pilot car operation.  The times will be posted early this week at

TRAFFIC THROUGH THE CANYON:  The average daily traffic for Glenwood Canyon is around 300 vehicles per hour. Around the evening of the incident the average traffic was about 150 per hour; the volume starts to drop off significantly after 11:00 p.m. to less than 100 vehicles per hour.

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