Transportation officials in Colorado hope to reopen a portion of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon at some point on Thursday, after the entire interstate was shut down by two separate rockslides.
The Colorado Department of Transportation announced via press release that it expects the road to remain closed until mid to late Thursday. CDOT crews and contracted workers will continue rock scaling at the location in an attempt to bring down any additional debris. As a safety precaution, crews will also install rockfall mitigation fence on the westbound lanes.
The agency said it plans to begin a pilot car operation on Thursday, directing single-lane, alternating traffic to the eastbound lanes, which incurred less damage. The release states that the pilot car operation could be in place for several days while early repairs and additional rock stabilization are completed.
As repairs progress, CDOT plans to open one lane in each direction. The agency estimates 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.
The average daily traffic for Glenwood Canyon is around 300 vehicles per hour.
I-70 drivers headed to areas in the southern part of the state are advised to use U.S. 50 as an alternate route. Access to Highway 50 is available via Grand Junction for eastbound drivers and for westbound drivers by way of U.S. 285 through the Salida area from the Front Range.
Per the agency, 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. Cottonwood Pass is closed and is not a viable alternate route.
The detour is roughly 203 miles and is expected to add nearly four hours to westbound motorists’ commutes.
Additional traffic and road condition information can be found at www.CoTrip.org.
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