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The Colorado Department of Transportation on Monday issued the following press release announcing the reopening of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon after it shut down two weeks ago due to the ongoing Grizzly Creek Fire:
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is announcing a limited reopening of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon this morning. CDOT asks that motorists prepare for reduced speeds, no stopping in the canyon and closures due to mudslides and other events. CDOT also urges travelers to stay focused on the road and avoid distracted driving. The I-70 closure began Monday, Aug. 10, when the Grizzly Creek Fire started burning along the interstate. The closure was located between Glenwood Springs (Mile Point 116) and Gypsum (MP 140). Wildfires in other parts of Colorado continue to affect Colorado Highways 14 and 139.
The Colorado Department of Transportation opened 1-70 in Glenwood Canyon on Monday morning. Travelers will encounter a lower speed limit and should anticipate more safety closures after rains or other weather. Motorists should also plan for not being able to stop at rest areas in the canyon, due to rockfall and other hazards.
While on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon, it is critical for motorists to pay attention to the roadway, and follow signage and traffic guidance through the canyon. A head-to-head detour is in place between Hanging Lake Tunnel (Mile Point MP 125) and near No Name Tunnel (MP 117.6). This detour is on the eastbound deck, and is similar to the construction detour in place this summer during the Glenwood Canyon Phase 7 project. CDOT asks motorists to plan for additional travel time due to lower speed limits in the detour and elsewhere in the canyon.
Travelers should prepare for intermittent closures on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon that are required for repairs after the Grizzly Creek Fire or if conditions in the canyon require a safety closure. Repairs include the replacement of power poles by aerial operations, which require closing the interstate. The roadway and structures along the eastbound deck have been reviewed and are safe to travel on.
Travelers are urged to pay close attention to weather forecasts. Although CDOT has carefully reviewed the hazards affecting I-70 in Glenwood Canyon, the roadway is a changing environment. Even minimal amounts of rain could trigger mudslides, debris flows or rock slides in the burn area. Showers and thunderstorms are forecast for Glenwood Canyon this week and could prompt a safety closure. Motorists are asked to watch the forecast closely through the weekend. CDOT has a plan in place for needed emergency closures due to rockfall, mudslides or other impacts from burn scars on the canyon walls. We have stationed personnel in the canyon to allow quick response to any events that could impact the roads. Those personnel have the equipment necessary to restrict traffic so that CDOT can safely clear the road and assess damage before reopening. CDOT is also working on plans to bolster long-term resiliency to sediment fall and avalanche.
Travelers will not be able to stop in Glenwood Canyon while traveling on I-70. Rest areas in the canyon will be closed and motorists will not be able to use exit ramps. I-70 is too narrow to allow stopped vehicles along the roadway and Colorado State Patrol troopers will assist in watching for motorists who attempt to stop. The Glenwood Canyon bike path is also closed at this time. Rafting, kayaking and other river recreation activities are not allowed on the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon at this time.
CDOT will continue to monitor conditions in the canyon and will restrict traffic when necessary to maintain safety for the traveling public.