I-70 could reopen in Glenwood Canyon today or tomorrow, maybe
State transportation officials are noncommittal about a specific reopening time for Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon this weekend, as heavy rains late Thursday into Friday continued to cause problems.
“We are still tracking toward a weekend opening, and our goal is Saturday,” Amy Ford, Colorado Department of Transportation communications director, told reporters in a conference call this afternoon.
“The weather really did not cooperate with us last night when we had a significant amount of rain and hail,” she said. “We had to go back in and rescale the areas we had already done before, because there was such a deluge of rain.”
Three more rockfall incidents occurred overnight in different parts of the canyon outside the big slide zone, indicating just how saturated and unstable the slopes remain, Ford said.
I-70 through the 12-mile stretch of canyon east of Glenwood Springs was to remain closed for a fifth straight day into Saturday until CDOT officials decide it’s safe to let traffic onto the roadway again.
At that point, east and westbound traffic will be led in alternating fashion by pilot cars through a six-mile stretch between the Grizzly Creek Rest Area and the east side of the Hanging Lake Tunnels.
In the meantime, motorists are discouraged from attempting to queue up on either side of the closed area in anticipation of the interstate reopening, Ford said. The highway will not reopen before noon at the earliest, and it’s not out of the question that the closure could continue into Sunday or longer, she said.
“We will try to meet our goal, but it’s not good for people or for us to be sitting there waiting,” Ford said.
Detour routes around Glenwood Canyon continue to be the northerly route eastbound from Rifle via state Highway 13 to U.S. 40 from Craig to Steamboat Springs, and either state Highway 131 south to Wolcott, or continuing over Rabbit Ears Pass to Highway 9 to Silverthorne.
The southern detour is via U.S. 50 from Grand Junction to Gunnison and over Monarch Pass to U.S. Routes 24 and 285 on to Denver. Those traveling from the Roaring Fork Valley can also take Highway 133 over McClure Pass to Delta and onto the southern route.
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