I-70 Glenwood Canyon Update: Friday, August 20

August 20, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado

I-70 mudslide

I-70 Glenwood Canyon material slides the night of 8/19.

Note: photos for this update and all other summer photos are available in the media kit, which continues to be updated 

As of midnight on Thursday, Aug. 19 the canyon continued to experience continuous rainfall. At 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, a decision was made, barring any further weather impacts through the night, that CDOT would open the canyon Friday morning. That goal was accomplished by 5:00 a.m. on Friday after some minor material slide clean-up at mile points 120.6, 120.7 WB and 130 EB. Crews were encouraged by how well the canyon landscape weathered the rain that occured over the past 24 hours. Numerous rain gauges surrounding the canyon measured over three inches of rain that fell during that period. 

Maintenance Update

Today both Section 4 (Pueblo) and Section 5 (Denver) mobilized 10 person teams consisting of tandem dump trucks and vac-trucks to oversee continued clean-up operations in the canyon. These teams consist of loader and excavator operators to relieve Section 2 personnel for the weekend. Section 2 personnel will continue to monitor flood watches and warnings for traffic control points when needed over this period.

Engineering Update

  • Initial readings from the Blue Gulch wall monitors indicate stability. 

  • Two bids were received for the emergency work, United and Lawrence. Lawrence was the successful low bidder and has been issued Notice to Proceed.

  • Lawrence plans to mobilize staff immediately to begin preparations for Construction Work to begin Monday 8/23.

  • CC Enterprises will be Lawrence's Traffic Control subcontractor.

  • Met with the ICC river group. Their site visit was cancelled on Thursday due to rain. They will attempt a site visit today.

Flash Flood Watch Protocol

Maintenance crews will be stationed at the two closure points along I-70 at mile point 133 (Dotsero) and MP 116 (Glenwood Springs). This allows for a quick closure of the interstate if weather worsens. There will be a single lane closure on eastbound I-70 at MP 116 which, again, allows the opportunity to quickly close the interstate as soon as a Flash Flood Warning is issued.

Flash Flood Warning Protocol

In the event that a Flash Flood Warning is issued, maintenance crews at the two closure points will close the interstate. The Colorado State Patrol will sweep the area to ensure there are no motorists or members of the public in the area. Crews will continue to monitor the mudslide area. Motorists should be prepared for an extended closure should there be another mud slide or slide materials blocking the roadway that will need to be cleared before reopening. Safety is CDOT’s and CSP’s number one priority and the agencies will not reopen the interstate until it is safe to do so. 

In the event of a Closure

Digital message boards will display the closure points and the recommended detour. The detour will be the same as when the canyon originally closed. CDOT will post messaging on both Facebook and Twitter and will send information to stakeholders if we anticipate an extended closure. Motorists are encouraged to check COtrip.org and the weather forecast before driving through the canyon.