Traffic holds on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon scheduled for Oct. 4-6 for rock scaling and helicopter operations

Travel Advisory

September 26, 2022 - Northwestern Colorado - 20 & 30-minute holds necessary to protect traveling public during rock scaling and helicopter operations

Glenwood Canyon — The Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor partners will oversee safety-critical helicopter and rockfall operations in Glenwood Canyon on Tuesday, Oct. 4 through Thursday, Oct. 6. Traffic holds for motorists on I-70 will be necessary in order to allow crews to safely conduct work (please see below for more details about traffic impacts). Crews have combined emergency repairs and rockfall operations along I-70 next week in order to streamline and limit traffic impacts for the traveling public as much as possible. The interstate holds are anticipated to be the last round for the 2022 emergency repairs. The project and rockfall work are a continuation of emergency repairs carried out since major debris flows damaged I-70 in 2021. Work Oct. 4-6 is contingent on the weather forecast.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4 and Wednesday, Oct. 5, crews will conduct necessary rock scaling next to the highway at mile point 123.7. Workers will clean out rockfall debris that has accumulated above a fence in this location on the north side of the highway. Crews will install a temporary rockfall barrier, using super sacks, to protect the roadway during debris clearing operations. If the clearing goes smoothly, it is possible impacts to eastbound traffic will be reduced. This is the last fence location that needs to be cleared by Midwest Rockfall, Inc. in Glenwood Canyon this fall.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, crews will use a helicopter to fly debris flow fence material to the steep canyon slope above MP 123.5/Blue Gulch. The material is essential in order to build two fences above the section of I-70 where the roadway was most heavily damaged during the 2021 debris flows. Helicopter operations will also allow crews to place ring net and anchor systems, and also safely remove heavy equipment used to conduct the first round of work in that location.

Crews working on the side of a rockface

During both helicopter and rockfall operations, crews will hold eastbound and westbound traffic in both directions. During helicopter operations, traffic will be held for 30 minutes in order to protect the traveling public and provide a safe work zone for crews. During rockfall work, traffic will be held in both directions for 20 minutes. In both cases, crews will then release the queue of motorists lined up at the closure points. Once the queue is cleared, crews will hold traffic again. Holds will take place 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4 through Thursday, Oct. 6. As a safety measure, the Glenwood Canyon recreation path between the Shoshone Power Plant (exit 123) and the Hanging Lake Rest Area (exit 125) will be closed during the operations. Flaggers will be utilized to ensure the integrity of the recreation path closure.

The safety-critical operations are required to protect the traveling public on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon and is an important part of resiliency work in the canyon.

The current phase of the emergency relief project is being undertaken to provide mitigation measures for future geohazard events. Work on the project includes: rock scaling, traffic control, debris barriers, gabion baskets, excavation, and pier protection. Work is anticipated to be complete later this fall.

Midwest Rockfall, Inc. is the contractor on the geohazard mitigation project. Lawrence Construction is the contractor on the continuation of repairs to I-70.

Crews preparing equipment to haul up the side of a rockface

Traffic Impacts

  • On Tuesday Oct. 4, Wednesday Oct. 5, and Thursday Oct. 6, eastbound and westbound traffic will have traffic stops
  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, traffic stops will last approximately 20 minutes, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • On Thursday, traffic stops will last approximately 30 minutes, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    Intermittent single lane closures throughout the canyon will take place Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. throughout the lifespan of the project.

Project Information

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

Remember: Slow For The Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!

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