Limited reopening of I-70 and Glenwood Canyon

Posted at 6:19 PM, Feb 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 10:10:06-05

Almost a week after a rock slide closed I-70 at Glenwood Canyon, Colorado Department of Transportation has partially reopened the interstate.

A pilot car began ushering cars through the roadway at 6 p.m. Sunday, the the partial opening only lasts for a fraction of the day.

Only one lane will be open

Eastbound traffic will start at Exit 116 in Glenwood Springs all the way to Grizzly Creek. Westbound traffic will start at Exit 129 in Bair Ranch all the way to the east side of the Hanging Lake Tunnel bore where vehicles will then be configured into the pilot car queue.  

Since only one lane will be open to traffic, drivers should expect at least an hour delay getting through the canyon during the pilot car operation, CDOT said.

The pilot car escorts will begin each day from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. Glenwood Canyon will then be closed from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to allow for continued work and repair, which CDOT officials said will take several days to complete. 

The Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Shoshone rest areas will be closed for the duration of the pilot car operation. Bair Ranch (on the east side) and No Name (west side) rest areas will remain open. The Glenwood Canyon Bike Path remains closed as well.


If you're on the Front Range heading westbound, use US 40 north to Steamboat Springs, then head west on US 40 to Craig and then south on CO 13 to Rifle and I-70. 

For those in Summit County, take CO 9 from Silverthorne to US 40 in Steamboat Springs. Head west on US 40 to Craig, then south on CO 13 to Rifle and I-70.

The alternate route for westbound motorists is north on CO 131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs, west on US 40 to Craig, then south on CO 13 to Rifle and back to I-70. This is a 203-mile alternate route. The detour adds 146 miles and about three hours to a regular trip from Wolcott to Rifle on I-70.

If you're coming from the south, 

Independence Pass, Cottonwood Pass and several other remote roads are closed during the winter.

Visiting the Aspen area

If you need to get to Aspen and are flying into Denver or Eagle, tourism officials in Aspen are recommending that you take Amtrak to get through Glenwood Canyon.

Repair work

There is roadway, retaining wall and bridge/guardrail damage.

CDOT said crews are also doing rock mitigation and adding netting and fencing to the area.

Officials said about 30 cubic yards of material came down during two rock slides on Monday, one around 3 a.m. and another around 9 p.m.

An additional 160 cubic yards, about 16 loads of rock in a tandem dump truck, have been brought down by crews in the days since then.

The highway has been closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum since Monday night. 


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