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More mitigation work for Glenwood Canyon

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Colorado Department of Transportation plans to complete further mitigation work in the fall area where a rockfall near the Hanging Lake Tunnel closed Interstate 70 in early March.

CDOT plans to install some cable netting along the fall site to prevent smaller rocks and boulders from falling onto the roadway below, CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said.

The work comes after a 2- to 3-foot boulder fell and crashed into a car last Thursday, in the same location as the large rockfall in early March.

Grand Junction resident Kurt Kuxhausen was traveling westbound through the construction zone when the boulder crashed into the rear passenger side of his car.

Shanks said last week that this recent incident was not believed to be related to the previous rockfall and was likely due to typical freeze and thaw conditions. Geologists checked the area again on Friday to determine the threat of more rock slides. Shanks said that the safety of travelers and work crews in the area was the reason for the decision to hang the netting.

“It’s because it’s that time of year where rockfalls are likely to occur,” she said. “They don’t want to see any more of these smaller rocks coming down.”

Road crews continue to work to repair the damaged section of I-70 after more than 20 boulders, one as large as a tractor-trailer and weighing an estimated 66 tons, punched holes into the surface on March 8, at a cost of $860,000. The work is being completed by Flatiron Construction Corp. of Longmont.

No one was injured in either of the incidents.

CDOT did not release information Tuesday as to when the wire mesh would be installed, how long it would take crews to install, if traffic would be affected, or how much the project would cost. Those specifics have yet to be determined.

However, Shanks said that CDOT has ordered about 20,000 square feet of half-inch cable netting that will be installed on the canyon surface. Fencing is already in place near the road surface to catch any rocks that roll down the hillside. The mesh netting will be placed higher on the mountain to prevent other rocks from falling.

Shanks said that installation would begin as soon as the netting is received and the work is approved by the U.S. Forest Service.

CDOT had to issue a contract modification to add the extra costs to the existing contract. Shanks said Rock Solid Solutions of Glenwood Springs is the subcontractor that will be installing the netting.

The Colorado Department of Transportation, along with contractor Flatiron Construction Corp., will switch traffic lanes in the Glenwood Canyon work zone starting at 7 a.m. today.


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