I-70 through Glenwood Canyon opens to two-way traffic Thursday afternoon

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A tractor-trailer got caught in a rockslide Monday along I-70 in Glenwood Canyon in Colorado. Photo courtesy of the Colorado DOT.A tractor-trailer got caught in a rockslide Monday along I-70 in Glenwood Canyon in Colorado. Photo courtesy of the Colorado DOT.

UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 25, 3 p.m. Central: I-70 through Glenwood Canyon will open to two-way traffic at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. Colorado DOT said a pace car in each direction will lead traffic to maintain a safe speed as vehicles travel through the canyon on the eastbound lanes in a head-to-head configuration.

CDOT said traffic volumes have been running high in the morning and evenings during the current single-lane pilot car configuration, but it expects traffic to ease up as the interstate will now be open throughout the day.

Crews will continue working on rockfall mitigation, and motorists can expect periodic traffic holds as necessary between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. until work is complete. A 10-foot width restriction remains in place all times of day.

Delays of up to one hour should be expected with the two-way pace car configuration.

UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 22, 9:30 a.m. Central: Colorado DOT reopened I-70 through Glenwood Canyon to pilot car operations Sunday night through 9 a.m. Monday. Beginning Monday until CDOT deems it safe for complete reopening, the canyon will be completely closed to traffic, including pilot car operations, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Pilot car escorts will operate between 4 p.m. and 9 a.m.

CDOT said in its update Sunday it will restrict oversized trucks wider than 10 feet until the interstate is fully reopened.

On Sunday, crews brought down around 30 to 50 cubic yards of rock, with three boulders in the two to five ton range.  To date, about 400 tons of rock have been  mitigated from the site.

UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 18, 3:30 p.m. Central: I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is likely to remain closed at least until Saturday, CDOT says, as inclement weather has created delays in crews’ progress bringing additional rocks down onto the highway and restoring safety. The opening time and day will be dependent on CDOT’s ability to complete mitigation and clear the roadway with the current weather conditions.

UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 18, 9:40 a.m. Central: The Colorado DOT updated the I-70 closure situation Wednesday night, saying it still hopes to open the section through Glenwood Canyon to one lane with alternating traffic Thursday afternoon, but it’s not sure if that will be a possibility.

“Rock scaling operations continued [Wednesday] in Glenwood Canyon, bringing significantly more debris down from the slope than originally anticipated,” CDOT said in its update. “Rockfall crews are continuing to stabilize the slope and rockfall mitigation fencing will be installed on top of the westbound barrier walls. Crews will also be working to remove the damaged wall and guardrail in the westbound lanes.”

CDOT went on to say crews will be ready to implement single-lane, alternating traffic control if it is determined the site is safe for travel.

“Once implemented, the pilot car configuration will run about six miles with traffic being staged on the east side of Hanging Lake Tunnel and the crossover will be at the Grizzly Creek rest area,” CDOT said. “The Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Shoshone rest areas will be closed during the duration of the pilot car operation. Bair Ranch and No Name rest areas will remain open. Motorists should expect at least an hour delay getting through the canyon during the pilot car operation.”

UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 17, 8:30 a.m. Central: The Colorado DOT says the section of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon will remain closed until mid to late Thursday. CDOT crews and contractors are continuing rock scaling at the location in an attempt to bring down any additional debris, CDOT said in its most recent update. Crews will also install rockfall mitigation fences on the westbound lanes.

On Thursday, a pilot car operation – directing single-lane, alternating traffic – will be implemented and traffic will be routed to the eastbound lanes, which did not incur as much damage. The pilot car operation could be in place for several days while early repairs and additional rock stabilization are completed. As repairs progress, CDOT will move to open one lane in each direction. It could be several weeks before the damage to the roadway walls and roadway are repaired and the interstate is fully open to regular traffic operations, CDOT said.

Original story below:

A portion of I-70 in Colorado is closed following a rockslide that occurred early Monday, Feb. 15, around 2:30 a.m., according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The rockslide occurred in Glenwood Canyon at mile marker 124.2, directly west of Hanging Lake Tunnel and eight miles east of Glenwood Springs. The Colorado Department of Transportation said it flagged traffic through the area throughout the day Monday as it worked to clear the boulders, but another rockslide Monday night around 9:03 p.m. caused the full closure of I-70 through the canyon.

Courtesy CDOT.Courtesy CDOT.

CDOT said it’s unknown when the Interstate will reopen. The alternate route for westbound motorists is north on CO 131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs, west on U.S. 40 to Craig, then 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.

A tractor-trailer got caught in the landslide Monday night and was disabled, CDOT said, but no injuries were reported. With the help of the Colorado State Patrol on Tuesday morning, crews were able to clear out any tractor-trailers that were stuck in the canyon. Passenger vehicles were cleared out overnight, CDOT said.

A geohazards team is on site and in a helicopter evaluating the damage and, according to the CDOT, there is roadway, retaining wall and bridge/guardrail damage.

For updates on I-70’s status and other Colorado travel information, check the CDOT’s website.

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