I-70 Glenwood Canyon Update: Monday, August 23

August 23, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado

8-22-2021 Glenwood Ccanyon clean up 118 - drain beginning.jpeg

Glenwood Canyon Cleanup 2

[Crews cleared material from several locations this weekend, including these drains.]

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

This weekend was safe and productive. The weather was mostly sunny and clear. On Saturday, crews noted several small very fast-moving weather cells that wet the area down today with no closures, watches or warnings. Communication lines with NOAA were active and weather status was transferred often and with great accuracy. Crews hauled out 124 loads on Saturday and 104 loads on Sunday. Work this week will include flight operations by Xcel Energy and Holy Cross Energy, so motorists should anticipate limited traffic holds so that crews can safely conduct that work.

Maintenance Update

On Saturday and Sunday, Section 4 (Pueblo) crews concentrated their efforts at the No Name material dump site. Crews hauled out 130 loads to our new approved dump site in Silt which creates room for future emergency cleanup in the canyon. The crews then moved to Mile Point (MP) 120.5 westbound and cleaned behind the wall, removing 25 loads.

On Saturday, Section 5 (Denver) crews concentrated their effort on cleaning 2 clogged drains, one at MP 128.5. Crews were able to haul out 44 loads to expose two 48” drains. The second area worked on Saturday was at MP 127 to 129 under the highway, which has a standing pool of water. Crews continued searching for drop drains. Crews also cleaned the top rail along the way. Work in this second area was continued on Sunday, with 27 loads removed. 

Xcel conducted work in Glenwood Canyon on Saturday and Sunday. Flight operations were necessary and required several short traffic holds with minimal delays.

For this week, Sections 4, 5, and 2 (Grand Junction and Glenwood Canyon area) will resume work at westbound MP 120 - 120.5 and MP 127 - 129.  Sections 4 and 5 will be transitioning home today. CC Enterprises will be providing traffic control for them tomorrow as they work clearing debris and unclogging drains. Xcel Energy and Holy Cross Energy will conduct flight operations for repairs, which will require traffic holds. Work begins this week by the emergency repairs contractor, so CDOT crews from outside the area will no longer be requested.

Engineering Update

Contractor partner Lawrence Construction began mobilizing to the project site today to begin work on the emergency roadway repairs throughout the canyon. Initial work will be focused at MP 123.5 (Blue Gulch).

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.