24/7 Glenwood Canyon opening possible Thursday p.m. | AspenTimes.com
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24/7 Glenwood Canyon opening possible Thursday p.m.

John Stroud
jstroud@postindependent.com
Cars and trucks line up on the east side of Glenwood Canyon at Dotsero Monday afternoon, in anticipation of pilot car operations resuming through the rockfall zone along I-70.
Tracy Trulove / Colorado Department of Transportation | CDOT

Colorado Department of Transportation officials may be able to open Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon to full-time, head-to-head traffic by Thursday afternoon, CDOT Region 3 spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said.

For this afternoon’s 4 p.m. reopening, though, in Glenwood Springs motorists are still asked to use Exit 111 (Canyon Creek) to access eastbound I-70 and line up for the pilot car operation.

The eastbound I-70 on ramp at Exit 116 is closed in order to allow westbound Highway 82 commuter traffic to use both I-70 on-ramp lanes. Also, the westbound off ramp at Exit 114 (West Glenwood) is closed in an effort to prevent backups into the roundabouts.

On the east side of the canyon, anyone entering I-70 from the Dotsero area must go to Gypsum and get back on westbound I-70 at that point to help avoid major traffic backups, Trulove said this afternoon just before the scheduled reopening. Uniformed Colorado State Patrol and CDOT maintenance personnel are performing traffic control at Dotsero Exit 133, and only commercial vehicles are allowed to use the truck parking area.

“The good news is the goal of the project team today is to get to a point where we can move to a head-to-head configuration, most likely starting tomorrow afternoon,” she said. “We are working very hard to get to that next step.”

At that point, eastbound and westbound traffic would be running concurrently through the six-mile rockfall area that has been closed for the better part of the last week due to a major rockslide on Feb. 15. However, pace cars will still be used to lead traffic in both directions in an effort to control speeds, Trulove said.

“There will still be some delays of up to an hour or more, especially during those peak times when there are higher traffic volumes,” she said.

I-70 through the canyon remains closed during the day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. until the official announcement is made that it can reopen full time.

CDOT crews are continuing with rockfall mitigation efforts following a massive slide last week that closed the interstate for the better part of six days until Sunday night.

Pilot car operations are in effect overnight, starting at 4 p.m. daily and ending at 9 a.m., leading east and westbound traffic in alternating fashion between Grizzly Creek and the east side of the Hanging Lake Tunnels.

I-70 through the canyon remains closed during the day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. until further notice, as rockfall mitigation efforts continue following a massive slide last week that closed the interstate for six days until Sunday night.

During the daytime closure period, westbound motorists must take a northerly detour onto state Highway 9 or 131 from Silverthorne and Wolcott, respectively, then west on U.S. 40 from Steamboat Springs to Craig, and south on Highway 13 to Rifle.

A southern route westbound via U.S. routes 285, 24 and 50 over to Monarch Pass and west to Grand Junction is also an option.

Trulove said all of the large boulders on the eastbound lanes have been broken up and the material hauled off. “We are working on more permanent rockfall fencing, and a hole in the eastbound deck has been plated and patched over,” she said.


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