UPDATE: Traffic crosses Glenwood Canyon again for the first time this month after I-70 was closed due to mudslides
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado (CBS4) – Governor Jared Polis said Monday it could take weeks to repair damage on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon caused by mud and debris slides caused by heavy rain. The northern detour recommended by the Colorado Department of Transportation will take you almost five hours.
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Heading west from Denver, the detour takes you to Silverthorne, through Steamboat on Craig, then to Rifle and finally Glenwood Springs.
While the journey is long, lengthened by semi-traffic, the towns along the route derive a major economic advantage.
âThe impact appears to be greater, especially with the I-70 detour, lots of trucks and a lot more traffic,â said Gary Suiter, general manager of Steamboat Springs.
Suiter says it’s hard to tell the normal summer crowds apart from those on the detour, there was a noticeable bump in July in the city when the Glenwood Canyon closures first began.
âThe I-70 closures started in July and, in fact, around July 4, we had to move the July 4 parade,â he recalls.
The increase in traffic caused a headache for local traffic, but for businesses it was worth it. Many spend the night and fill the hotels. Restaurants are also busy.
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âWe definitely take detours here. They find us because we’re like at the top of Yelp and Trip Advisor, so they always drive like ‘what’s the best place for breakfast?’ Said Kelly Meuse, director of Steamboat’s Creekside Cafe.
Like other mountain towns, Muse said they struggle with smaller-than-normal staff, but she’s still happy to have the business bump on the detour.
âI mean it’s good to have people in restaurants again,â Meuse said. âWe have a lot of things like where do we go next? What do we do next on the detour? So that was a lot of fun.
Sales tax revenue for the month of June increased by more than 40% compared to the same period last year. July numbers will be released by the end of the month, and especially with the detour in place, Suiter expects it to be significant for businesses in the region.
âI expect we will have a blockbuster in July, not only because there is a lot of activity here and it’s just a fun city, but the detours of I-70 certainly got us. helped, âhe said.
Find more information on recommended routes around Glenwood Canyon.
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CDOT recommends that all commercial traffic use Interstate 80 as a detour to and from Denver to reduce congestion.