Clean-up efforts on Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon resumed over the weekend as crews carried nearly 6,000 tons of debris after the pavement was covered with several mudslides last month.
The Colorado Department of Transportation announced the progress on Monday. There is still no reopening date for the highway, which closed on July 29 after weeks of sporadic closures and openings due to other mudslides.
The debris was cleaned up in 440 truck loads on Saturday and Sunday, each load equaling 13 tons, the department said.
West of the Hanging Lake tunnel, crews completely uncovered the causeway at Blue Gulch looking east. With the debris cleared in the area, engineers will begin to assess the damage to the pavement to determine what needs to be done before it can reopen, the department said.
“This is one of the most critical areas for the inspection / engineering team to inspect for potential damage,” the department said in a statement. “This area is about 120 feet wide on the north side / passing lane and tapers to about 70 feet on the south side / taxiway.
On the east side of the tunnel, crews have cleared the eastbound lanes at mile post 124.3 for inspection and continue to work to clear the tunnel pavement from Hanging Lake to Bair Ranch.
On Monday, crews will continue to clean debris from the pavement on the east side of the tunnel and work on the west side to clean up drains and wash the pavements, the department said.
Governor Jared Polis announced on Friday that he had issued a disaster declaration for Glenwood Canyon, saying I-70 could take days or weeks to reopen depending on the extent of the damage.
I-70 is closed from Exit 116 in Glenwood Springs to Exit 133 in Dotsero.
Several detours are available, including Interstate 80 for truck drivers leaving the state. The main detour is for westbound drivers to exit Colorado 9 at Silverthorne, head north to US 40 and through Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs, then west to Colorado 13 , which again enters I-70 at Rifle. Drivers going east should reverse the detour.
A detour south, using US 50 from Grand Junction, passes through Montrose and Gunnison, connecting US 285 to Denver. The state has postponed a road project between Montrose and Gunnison when the detour is needed.