FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: I-70 reopens through Glenwood Canyon in western Colorado after flood threat subsides
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado (CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Transportation closed Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon Wednesday afternoon. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning just after 4 p.m. due to increased flooding potential in the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area.
Widespread thunderstorms will return to western Colorado with the possibility of heavy rain, hail and gusty winds. The national weather service released a flash flood watch in the burn scar area at noon on Wednesday. This was upgraded to a flash flood warning a few hours later.
I-70 is closed between mile markers 133 and 87 in both directions from Dotsero to West Rifle due to a flash flood warning.
– Garfield 9-1-1 (@ Garco911) August 18, 2021
After the flash flood warning was issued, the CDOT asked maintenance crews to close both directions of I-70. Crews were stationed at mile post 133, Dotsero and mile post 116, Glenwood Springs, allowing the expressway to close quickly.
I-70 to #GlenwoodCanyon is CLOSED between Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) and Exit 133 (Dotsero). This safety shutdown was implemented in response to the National Weather Service flash flood warning over the Grizzly Creek burn scar. #cotrafic pic.twitter.com/dh1uE26o8v
– CSP Aigle (@CSP_Eagle) August 18, 2021
According to CDOT, âThe Colorado State Patrol will sweep the area to make sure there are no motorists or members of the public in the area. Teams will continue to monitor the landslide area. Motorists should be prepared for an extended closure if there is another mudslide or slip material blocking the roadway that will need to be cleared before reopening. Safety is the number one priority for CDOT and CSP and agencies will not reopen the highway until it is safe. “
With the closure of I-70 on Wednesday, the detour will be the same as when the canyon was initially closed last month:
WESTBOUND I-70: Motorists coming from the Denver metro area or Interstate 25 can travel westbound on I-70 to Silverthorne, then turn north on Highway 9. In Kremmling, travelers should take Highway 40 westbound towards Steamboat Springs. After reaching Craig, motorists can return south via Hwy 13 towards Rifle. Access to I-70 westbound is at Rifle.
EASTWARD I-70: Motorists traveling eastbound from Utah or Grand Junction can reach the Denver metro area by traveling north from Rifle on Hwy 13 to Craig. From there, head east on Hwy 40 through Steamboat Springs. Take Hwy 131 south to Wolcott and onto I-70 from there or continue on Hwy 40 to Kremmling and head south on Hwy 9, then merge onto I again -70 eastbound at Silverthorne.
The CDOT said âCrews will continue to assess the burn scar area and determine if it is safe to reopen when the flash flood warning is lifted. In the event that a new mudslide occurs or a significant amount of debris from the mudslide path blocks the highway, the closure may be extended beyond the flash flood warning being lifted.
Crews continue to clear debris at the east end of the canyon on I-70 westbound to Ty Gulch. The 46-mile stretch of I-70 partially reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than two weeks due to devastating mudslides. They also build steps to slow the flow in the macaw.
The west end completed the cleanup between Mile 119 and Mile 121 on I-70 eastbound behind the wall and carried 60 loads. The crews then moved to begin cleaning the drainage of French Creek.
On Wednesday, crews will focus on cleaning and preparing equipment to avoid flash flooding.
CDOT recommends that drivers check COtrip.org for any road closures before setting off.