I-70 Glenwood Canyon Update: Tuesday, August 17

Travel Advisory

August 17, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado

Light plants

Light plants at mile point 123.5

Super sacks

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

A Flash Flood Watch went into place on August 16 from 5:44 p.m. to 8 p.m. CDOT maintenance crews reported to the closure points on eastbound I-70 at mile point 116 (Glenwood Canyon) and MP 133 (Dotsero). A left lane closure at MP 116 was put into place in the event heavy rainfall moved into the burn scar area, which would make it easier to conduct a full canyon closure. Crews reported normal traffic volumes after the single lane closure was put in place. Only light rain was reported in Glenwood Canyon. At 8:30 p.m., maintenance crews stood down from their closure points.  

August 16 was another successful day in the Canyon. Crews were able to get a total of 205 loads hauled out of the Canyon. 

NOAA is projecting less than a 30% chance of entering a Flash Flood Watch today. Moisture will still be in the air. Heavy rainfall is unlikely, but there is still a low potential for near-threshold rainfall if an isolated stronger storm moves over the burn scar. 

A sharp pattern change arrives Wednesday, leading to a good chance for showers and storms over all of western Colorado. Any thunderstorms will be capable of moderate to heavy rainfall, and likely exceed thresholds over the burn scar. With a little luck, cloud cover and cooler temperatures could limit thunderstorm coverage, leading to more showery precipitation and lighter rates. However, current model trends this morning indicate a high risk for excessive rainfall across the area. 

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 still encouraged to check cotrip.org and the weather forecast before driving through the canyon. 

Interstate Clean up

Yesterday, CDOT maintenance crews continued to clean debris flows on the east end of the Canyon at Ty Gulch along westbound I-70 at MP 129. Crews hauled out 120 loads from the north side of the interstate with two excavators. One loading and one behind the wall gathering slide materials and mud in the drainage and feeding it to the other excavator. Today's priority for the east end will continue in this area and estimate the drainage to be cleaned by the end of the day.

The west end cleaning operations continued eastbound behind the median wall between MP 119 and MP 121. Crews hauled out 80 to 90 loads in this area. Crews will continue to clean in these areas today and work their way east.

Today, crews will assist CDOT’s Staff Bridge in placing digital sensors at MP 123.5 and MP 124.2 wall using Hanging Lake Tunnel’s bucket truck. Traffic control will be at the unit with flaggers and will be utilizing rolling closures from the west to east with two attenuator trucks. One sensor has a 15 minute install time and repeats as necessary.

The recreation path continues to be closed as well as Bair Ranch, Shoshone and Grizzly Creek rest areas. The No Name rest area is open.

Engineering Update

The Engineering team met with CDOT’s Staff Bridge at Blue Gulch, MP 123.5, to discuss the installation of digital sensors on the westbound median wall to record any potential movement of that structure as well as the eastbound retaining wall adjacent to the Colorado River at Devil’s Hole, MP 124.2. CDOT is installing the sensors as an added safety measure and structural check. 

CDOT continues to refine the emergency repair bid that will open to contractors on August 19 at 9 a.m.

General Update

CDOT urges motorists to keep their eyes on the road and drop their cellphones while driving through the Canyon. There is a lot of activity in the Canyon paired with reduced speeds, so it is important that motorists remain vigilant. We want our crew members and all motorists to come home to their families safely.