CDOT calls for extended closure of I-70 Glenwood Canyon due to mudslide activity

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Courtesy of Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)

(CDOT) ―  I-70 at Glenwood Canyon is closed due to mudslides at several locations throughout the Grizzly Creek burn scar area. This is an extended closure with no estimated time of reopening the interstate.

Due to the confined space on the interstate roadway in the canyon, a limited amount of equipment can operate safely in the corridor. Removal of the mud and debris will require extensive work throughout the evening and night.    

A Flash Flood Warning was issued by the National Weather Service at approximately 3:05 p.m. Saturday. While CDOT crews were clearing the canyon of vehicles, a slide occurred at 3:20 p.m. Four additional slides occurred at multiple locations throughout the burn scar area. Some slide areas are nine ft. deep and cover hundreds of feet of roadway. 

Closure points for westbound traffic are from Exit 133 (Dotsero) to Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs). Closure points for eastbound traffic are from Exit 87 (West Rifle) to Exit 109 (Canyon Creek). 

Motorists are advised to seek the northern alternate route via Steamboat Springs or to wait out the closure. Motorists who decide to wait out the closure MUST wait at a location off I-70, and will NOT be allowed to wait on the roadway.

Grizzly Creek rest area, Shoshone rest area and the Glenwood Canyon recreation path are closed until further notice.

Encountering Inclement Weather

If you are stuck in a closure waiting for a road to be cleared of mud or rocks, do not leave your car unless absolutely necessary. Never hang out in the grassy median located between lanes. If traffic is moving in the opposite direction, the median can be a hazardous area. Emergency response vehicles and heavy equipment may also need the median area to move about and access the emergency scene.

Lengthy closures on the interstate may also be the result of staged releases. As stopped traffic backs up, creating long lines, traffic will be let go in stages, allowing traffic queues ahead to clear, before releasing more traffic. 

Be Prepared 

Highway closures can last for as little as a few minutes or for as long as several hours. When drivers set out on a trip, especially through high country roads or the I-70 mountain corridor, it is wise to have the car supplied with an emergency kit. The kit should contain at the very minimum: water, snacks, flashlight, and a blanket. Remember to also carry water for your pets if you’re traveling with animals. You may even consider packing some items to keep you or children occupied while waiting in the car. Activity books, colored pencils or a deck of cards can help pass the time.   

Driver Safety 

When motorists drive up onto a flooded area, there are several precautions to follow.  

  • Never drive through any flooded area, you do not know how deep or how fast the water is running. 
  • Even 8-10 inches of water can float an average-sized car, which can be easily swept off the road. 
  • Driving too fast on wet roads or in flooded areas can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Never use your cruise control during rainy conditions with standing water on the roadway.
  • Any amount of flooding or mud can obstruct the roadway and hinder drivers from knowing exactly where to drive. If you cannot see the roadway, be smart and wait for the water to subside. 
  • Water and mud can contain unknown hazards hidden under the surface – rocks or other debris, like plant material and tree branches.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts, and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

Fire Information

Agencies are responding to the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon. Updates and information can be found at: 

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