CDOT says partial reopening of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is still on schedule for ‘sometime’ Saturday

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 22:04:42-04

GLENWOOD CANYON, Colo. – Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials said the partial reopening of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is still on schedule for Saturday, but warned precipitation on the forecast Friday could impact the timeline.

Cleanup operations continued Thursday after crews removed over 200 loads of debris a day prior to CDOT dumpsites at No Name and Dotsero.

CDOT said crews focused on the 12x8 box culvert at Ty Gulch on the east end of the canyon (weast of Hanging Lake tunnel), hauling 200 loads from that location Wednesday. Crews also worked on washing and cleaning operations in anticipation for Saturday's opening from Hanging Lake Tunnel to Blair Ranch as well as debris removal on the bike path from the Hanging Lake rest area to the Hanging Lake trailhead.

For the west end of the canyon (west of the Hanging Lake tunnel), crews focused their efforts at Blue Gulch, placing a total of 156 super sacks with a crane. The super sacks will act as rockfall protection, CDOT officials said. Crews also placed a rock embankment on the east side of Blue Gulch and crews were anticipated to place geotextile and road base Thursday. Those placements will allow paving operations to begin on Friday, officials added.

The National Weather Service Forecast Discussion states some rain chances are possible for the higher foothills and mountains Friday, and meteorologists point to an “increased awareness for flooding over the burn scars” as well.

CDOT officials stressed that cleanup work, repairs and the partial reopening of that section of the interstate is weather dependent. They added rain on the Grizzly Creek burn area may prompt additional mudslides.

I-70 at Glenwood Canyon is expected to partially reopen by Saturday afternoon with the exception of a 3/4-mile stretch near Blue Gulch at milemarker 123.5, which will have just one lane moving in each direction, CDOT said Wednesday.

The Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake, and Blair Ranch areas will remain closed for the time being. The No Name and Shoshone rest areas will reopen when I-70 reopens, officials said.

The interstate closed through the canyon on July 29 after at least 10 large mudslides, which were caused by heavy rain on the burn scar of the 2020 Grizzly Creek Fire, covered the road, sometimes under as much as 12 feet of mud.

Gov. Polis said during a tour of the damage this week that he wants all lanes fixed and completely open by Thanksgiving.