Weather delays I-70 opening in Glenwood Canyon

Posted at 3:41 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 22:43:58-05

The Colorado Department of Transportation says it still hopes to re-open Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon this weekend.

However, rain and hail Thursday forced workers to re-scale the side of the canyon where crews had already scaled.

There were also three additional rock falls in the Glenwood corridor between Thursday night and Friday morning, CDOT said. They were not in the same area as Monday's slide.

Officials said they are still hoping to open the highway on Saturday, but no date or time has been set yet. The highway will not reopen until at least noon Saturday.

The highway has been closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum since Monday at 9 p.m. when a rock slide damaged the highway.

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.

Only one lane open

When the single lane opens, a pilot car will escort drivers through a six-mile section one way, then the other.

Motorists should expect at least an hour delay getting through the canyon during the pilot car operation, CDOT said.

Officials said it's possible the highway may also be closed at times due to the work being done.

The one-way-at-a-time pilot car is expected to be used for several delays.

After that, said CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove, officials hope 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.


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 that will take about three hours and 50 minutes to travel. The 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.

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.