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Avalanche mitigation work will close parts of I-70 on Sunday

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-10 12:42:35-04

DENVER – If you’re driving to the mountains Sunday, you better look for a possible detour if you’re planning on taking I-70.

Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials said sections of the highway will be closed as they work to clear several avalanche paths along the I-70 corridor.

The operations will be closing the following areas:

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. — Big Marvin slide path on Vail Pass (mile marker 186)
  • 11 a.m. to noon — 10 Mile Canyon (mile marker 196 east of Copper Mountain)
  • 1:30-2 p.m. — Silver Cloud and Bard Shoulder slide paths in Silver Plume

CDOT officials said it’s impossible to estimate how long these closures would last due to the nature of the work, which can create large debris fields with trees and rocks mixed with snow, causing operations to take longer to clear.

In a news release, officials said the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) had identified “many mountain ranges in western Colorado as being at high risk for avalanche slides.”

Because a natural slide can occur at any time, CDOT warns drivers to plan for unexpected highway closures as well if traveling to Colorado’s high country.

What should I do in case an avalanche occurs while I’m driving?

The first thing you should do is reduce your speed and pull over if possible. Once that’s done, turn off your car and remain there – don’t get out. Call 911 and ask for help.

Lastly, make sure you’re prepared to be on the road for a while – bring snacks, plenty of water, and don’t forget to have your vehicle emergency kit, which should include jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, an ice scraper, a car cell phone charger, blankets, a map, as well as cat litter or sand for traction. We have more tips on how you can prepare your vehicle for winter weather here.

Click here for the latest forecast statewide, and click here for the latest statewide road conditions.