CDOT plans I-70 rock work
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The Colorado Department of Transportation will be working this week to secure rocky areas above Interstate 70 near Glenwood Springs, where a 7-year-old boy was killed by falling rocks in January.
Crews will be working between the South Canyon exit (Exit 111) and the Canyon Creek exit (Exit 109), west of Glenwood. Traffic in both the east- and westbound lanes of I-70 will be halted for up to 15 minutes at a stretch while the work proceeds.
The project is scheduled to begin today and continue through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The work will resume next week, if necessary.
Crews will be scaling the vertical rock wall that rises on the north side of the interstate in the area and knocking down any loose rock that remains, said Karen Rowe, an engineer with the CDOT office in Glenwood Springs. They will also be bolting down sections of rock where necessary, she said.
The work is precautionary, Rowe said.
“We really don’t think it’s unsafe. This is just to make sure,” she said. “We think it’s stable, but you don’t know until you try and peel rocks away, so we’re going to try to peel some away.”
Anytime a rockfall occurs, it can loosen other material, added Phillip Anderle, supervisor of maintenance and operations for CDOT in the Glenwood area.
CDOT geologists have already examined the area, and state transportation officials do not believe there is any imminent threat of further slides, he said. This week’s work is aimed at further reducing any potential for additional slides.
Following the rockfall last month, CDOT erected a temporary barricade along a 300-foot stretch of I-70 to prevent any additional material coming down the rock face from rolling out onto the interstate, Anderle said. Once this week’s work is finished, a permanent barrier will be installed, he said.
Michael Howdle, son of Kelli and Matthew Gardner of New Castle, was killed when sandstone boulders hurtled onto the interstate on Jan. 14 and struck a vehicle driven by the boy’s father.
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The blizzards of January and February seem like distant dreams to Colorado water managers. What started as a promising year for water supply — with above-average snowpack as of April 1 — ended Sept. 30 with the entire state in some level of drought.