Rollover, spilled aluminum closes westbound I-70 |

Rollover, spilled aluminum closes westbound I-70

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A tractor-trailer rollover on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon forced the closure of the westbound lanes early Friday morning and delayed delivery of The Aspen Times to newspaper racks.

One westbound lane reopened around 9:45 a.m., eight hours after the crash occurred. The second lane was opened by 1 p.m. Eastbound traffic was not affected.

Westbound motorists found themselves stopped at Dotsero, east of the canyon, and rerouted to Highway 131 to Steamboat Springs, then onto U.S. 40 to Craig, and then south via Highway 13 to Rifle and back onto the interstate, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Copies of The Aspen Times were loaded onto smaller trucks so they could be transported over Cottonwood Pass, a gravel road and shortcut to the Roaring Fork Valley. The Times is printed in Gypsum.

The Colorado State Patrol responded to the crash, just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnel, around 1:45 a.m. The semi was heading west when it went out of control and rolled onto its left side.

The driver, Stephen James Beach, was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs for moderate but not life-threatening injuries, according to the patrol.

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The semi was transporting 11 3,800-pound bags of aluminum shavings. The load shifted as the truck entered a curve, causing it to roll. The truck’s fuel tanks were damaged and spilled about 70 gallons of diesel fuel, the patrol said.

The aluminum shavings had to be taken off the truck in order to right the trailer, and, during that process, several damaged bags emptied their contents onto the roadway. The cleanup and investigation resulted in the extended closure of the westbound lanes.

Speed and fatigue were suspected contributing factors in the crash, according to the patrol. Beach was cited for careless driving.

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