CDOT: Part of I-70 to reopen to traffic Thursday |

CDOT: Part of I-70 to reopen to traffic Thursday

Aspen Times staff and The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Colorado Department of Transportation crew members watch the mountain for more falling rocks as others drill holes to set explosives in boulders on Interstate 70 near Glenwood Springs, Colo. after an overnight fall deposited large rocks and hit a bridge, closing a 17-mile stretch of the road. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Joe Amon) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT; TV OUT **

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Highway crews will be able to open a portion of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon by Thursday evening, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced in its final update of the day Wednesday.

Crews blasted a large rock that was threatening to tumble down onto I-70 shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday after an all-day effort to deal with the boulder, perched some 900 feet above the roadway. The blasting knocked down all of the rocks that were of concern, CDOT said.

After cleanup work and final pavement repair Thursday, the agency will be able to open a single lane in each direction.

A 17-mile stretch of I-70 has been closed in both directions since a large rock slide sent multiple boulders crashing down on Sunday at about midnight, punching gaping holes in an elevated section.

Workers used compressor-powered drills and blasting to break up the worrisome boulder, about 20 feet in diameter. A helicopter hauled the drilling equipment to the site.

Elsewhere, a woman commuting to work in northwest Colorado was killed Wednesday when a basketball-size boulder fell on a car on U.S. 40, about 60 miles north of the I-70 incident, the Colorado State Patrol said.

That part of U.S. 40 is one of the detours around the I-70 rock slide, but there was no indication the woman had gone that way because of the slide. Crane said such rock falls and slides in the area are rare; the last one was in 1998.

The coroner identified her as Karen Lynn Evanoff, 55, of Craig, a passenger in the car. The unidentified driver was unhurt.

Crane said geologists were assessing the risks from other rocks in that area Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Victor Domenico, owner of Domenico Transportation in Denver, said the 200-mile detour around the I-70 slide was doubling the cost of some truck deliveries between Denver and western Colorado. The longer trip increases fuel and payroll costs, and some drivers have to lay over for a night to stay within federal limits on their hours behind the wheel, he said.

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