I-70 Glenwood Canyon Closure Set for July 27-28 for Rockfall Mitigation Helicopter Operations

Glenwood Canyon closure in both directions

EAGLE and GARFIELD COUNTIES/GLENWOOD CANYON—The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announces an upcoming Interstate 70 closure through Glenwood Canyon for safety-critical rockfall work and helicopter operations associated with the emergency rockfall mitigation project just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnel.

On Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28, a portion of the Glenwood Canyon will be closed from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. The eastbound closure point starts at Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) and the westbound closure point starts at Exit 133 (Doterso). All vehicles must exit; queuing will not be allowed. The Colorado State Patrol will assist with traffic mitigation.

Weather permitting, crews will utilize a military-style helicopter to deliver 13 steel posts erecting protective fencing," says Mike Fowler, project engineer. "The full canyon closures are necessary because of the safety considerations when the UH-1 military-style helicopter maneuvers and sets steel posts."

CDOT urges motorists to plan ahead during this time.

"We suggest that travelers plan ahead and schedule to drive through the Glenwood Canyon before 9 a.m., or wait until the canyon is reopened at 3:30 p.m.," said CDOT Region 3 Communications Manager Tracy Trulove. "Motorists should anticipate heavy traffic before and after the closures from vehicle congestion at the beginning and end points of the closures.


Front Range motorists/Summit County/westbound motorists
Take CO 91(Copper/Leadville – I-70 Exit 195) to US 24 (Buena Vista) north on CO 82 (Independence Pass/Aspen) to Glenwood Springs. This route is recommended only for vehicles under 35 feet in length. This route is very scenic and approximately two miles longer. Independence Pass has a vehicle length restriction in place of 35 feet.

Eagle County/westbound motorists
Take CO 131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs, travel west on US 40 to Craig, then travel 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
Use 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.


CMV parking will be available at Exit 133 (Dotsero). There is an 8-foot width restriction on CO 131 and a 12-foot width restriction on CO 9 north of I-70. CMV are restricted from using Independence Pass at all times which has a 35-foot length restriction in place. On the Exit 116 Glenwood Springs side of the closure, Colorado State Patrol will be working to stage CMV on I-70. Please pay close attention to all traffic control in place and follow flagger instructions.

Cottonwood Pass, Frying Pan Road and Hagerman Pass are NOT recommended alternate routes.

BUSTANG SERVICE will be operating to and from Glenwood Springs. View that schedule.


The average daily traffic for Glenwood Canyon is around 300 vehicles per hour. In the summer season, that number can swell to around 500-600 vehicles per hour.


Glenwood Canyon Emergency Rockfall Mitigation project information
CDOT launched the permanent rockfall project on May 9 in response to the major February rock slide on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. The anticipated completion date is Sept. 1, 2016. The project budget is estimated at around $2 million. This project is classified as an emergency project, and engineering was awarded to SGM and construction awarded to Yenter Companies.