I-70 Remains Closed Through Thursday in Glenwood Canyon Due to Rockfall Just West of Hanging Lake Tunnel

February 16, 2016 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - GARFIELD COUNTY – Interstate 70 will remain closed until mid to late Thursday in Glenwood Canyon following a large rockfall incident.

CDOT crews and contracted rockfall workers will continue rock scaling at the location in an attempt to bring down any additional debris. As a safety precaution, crews will also install rockfall mitigation fence on the westbound lanes.

On Thursday, a pilot car operation--directing single-lane, alternating traffic--will be implemented and traffic will be routed to the eastbound lanes, which did not incur as much damage. The pilot car operation could be in place for several days while early repairs and additional rock stabilization are completed. As repairs progress, CDOT will move to open one lane in each direction. It could be several weeks before the damage to the roadway walls and roadway are repaired and the interstate is fully open to regular traffic operations.

Today, crews worked to evaluate the slope and specialty unit crews removed boulders from the eastbound lane.  The slope today remained unstable.

Colorado Department of Transportation crews were able to flag traffic throughout the day on Monday when the rockfall incident started at 2:30 a.m. A second slide incident in the same location (mile point 124.2, directly west of Hanging Lake Tunnel and eight miles east of Glenwood Springs) occurred at 9:03 p.m. last night, Monday, February 15.

At 10:07 p.m. Monday night, CDOT fully closed I-70 through the canyon for safety. CDOT’s Geohazards team is on site and also evaluating the location from helicopter.

There was a semi-truck caught in the slide last night and disabled; no injuries were reported. With the help of the Colorado State Patrol this morning, crews cleared out any remaining semi-trucks that were stuck in the canyon. All passenger vehicles were cleared out last night.

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.

TRAVEL IMPACTS/ALTERNATE ROUTE:  The alternate route for westbound motorists is north on 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. Please always check www.cotrip.org for roadway conditions before heading out.  Cottonwood Pass is closed and is not a viable alternate route.

I-70 drivers headed to areas in the southern part of the state are advised to use U.S. 50 as an alternate route.  Access to Highway 50 is available via Grand Junction for eastbound drivers and for westbound drivers by way of U.S. 285 through the Salida area from the Front Range.

BUSTANG SERVICE:  In addition, the western terminus for Bustang, CDOT’s interregional express bus service to Glenwood Springs, is being temporarily moved to Eagle while I-70 is closed through Glenwood Canyon.  The current arrival and departure times will remain the same.  When I-70 reopens to traffic, Bustang will resume regular service to Glenwood Springs.  

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