GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Interstate 70 is closed in both directions between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum due to the Grizzly Creek Fire.
The closure extends from mile point 116 to 140.
As of Wednesday morning, the fire had burned 3,700 acres and was 0% contained. Officials said 211 people are involving in fighting the fire from the ground and air.
The I-70 safety closure will allow the Colorado Department of Transportation to assess two bridges located near where the Grizzly Creek Fire started, as well as an increased rockfall hazard in Glenwood Canyon. Both assessments are taking place Tuesday, according to CDOT.
Rockfall has been reported and is likely due to burned vegetation no longer holding rocks in place.
CDOT has paused some construction projects to allow for detour traffic. CDOT asks that motorists not use Cottonwood Pass (Eagle & Garfield counties) or Independence Pass as detour routes, as these roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial, oversize vehicles. Vehicles over 35 feet in length may not use Independence Pass at any time. This includes a vehicle and trailer that, together, exceed 35 feet.
Below is a map of recommended detour routes between metro Denver and Grand Junction:
Drivers should anticipate additional traffic on these routes. While some construction projects have been put on hold, travelers should be aware of possible construction impacts on US and state highways. CDOT recommends that through traffic on I-70 use a southern detour route, due to construction on commonly used northern alternate routes.
WESTBOUND: Denver metro area motorists can travel on US 285 to US 50, and continue west to Grand Junction. Travelers on I-70 can use CO 9 to US 285 south to US 50, or use CO 91 southwest to US 24 to US 50.
EASTBOUND: Motorists traveling from Grand Junction can use US 50 east to US 285 and continue to Denver. Motorists headed to areas west of Denver can also use the westbound detour in reverse.
For residents and businesses north of I-70, the following alternate routes are best:
WESTBOUND: Motorists can connect to US 40 via CO 9 or CO 131. To continue to Grand Junction, take CO 139 south to I-70. CDOT advises commercial traffic to use CO 9 instead of CO 131, for safety purposes. Please note that while CO 13 is open at this time, it is not a recommended detour due to construction. Oversize commercial vehicles are not allowed on CO 13 due to construction.
EASTBOUND: Near Fruita, motorists can travel north on CO 139 to US 40, then south on CO 131 or CO 9, returning to I-70. As stated above, CO 13 is not recommended due to construction.
CDOT says there is no estimated time when the interstate will reopen.
Glenwood Springs officials have asked people to not water their lawns for the next 48 hours.
“The City of GWS has began pumping water from the Roaring Fork River station to protect the water supply from fire retardant,” the City said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.