UPDATE: Traffic crosses Glenwood Canyon again for the first time this month after I-70 was closed due to mudslides
(CBS4) – Colorado state lawmakers warn of rising prices and shortages of some products following the mudslides that closed Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. The highway connects the Western Slope and Front Range.
âWe’re going to have food shortages. Deliveries are slowing in both directions, âsaid State Senator Ray Scott of Grand Junction.
He sits on the Legislature’s Interim Transportation Committee, which received a briefing from CDOT, Colorado Motor Carriers Association, and Wyoming and Colorado Petroleum Marketers Association on the severity of the issues.
âIt’s huge. It’s very big,â Scott said.
On the western slope, they are already seeing gas shortages since the refineries are on this side of the shutdown.
State Senator Don Corum, who also sits on the committee, lives in Montrose and gas stations are running out of gas.
âI paid Montrose $ 3.97 a gallon for fuel yesterday, and all the tanks had no product (gasoline),â he said.
On the Front Range, he says, look for food shortages. The shutdown could not have come at a worse time for farmers – harvest time.
âWe are looking at situations where the trucks don’t want to enter. If you can’t get the trucks in – sweet corn, peaches, they’ve got a schedule. “
State Senator Rachel Zenzinger said the whole state would feel the impact.
âEverything that passes along this highway, like food, fuel and other goods and products, is now blocked. So it’s going to increase the price of food in our grocery stores and it’s absolutely going to lead to shortages, âZenzinger said.
She says trucking companies were already short of drivers. The detour, she says, means more delays, which will further increase costs.
âWhat is usually a day trip from Grand Junction to Denver is now a two day trip,â she said.
The CDOT reopened Highway 50, which was under construction, to allow motorists to detour to the south. Senator Corum says he and other lawmakers pushed the agency to delay the project in the first place because of the risk of mudslides in the burn scar, “The sad part is we predicted everything what was going to happen. “
Scott says CDOT hopes to clear a lane in each direction within a few weeks, but until he knows the extent of the damage, he won’t know how long it will take to fix it.
“Hopefully – fingers crossed – about 14 days and then we’ll start moving traffic over there and slack off a bit, but who knows.”
Lawmakers are urging the federal government to approve a declaration of disaster that would mean money to speed up repairs.