Both eastbound and westbound sides of Interstate 70 remain closed in Glenwood Canyon due to heavy debris flow near and at the roadway, officials said Friday.
There are closures at Exit 87 in West Rifle, Exit 109 at Canyon Creek, Exit 116 in Glenwood Springs and Exit 133 in Dotsero, due to flash flooding potential in the Grizzly Creek burn scar, which was created by widespread wildfire last year and has seen heavy rain in the past day.
This is the latest in a series of closures in the area this summer.
The Colorado Department of Transportation offered no timeline for reopening, but officials said it appears westbound travel could reopen faster than eastbound travel will, possibly later today.
“If we gave you an estimate and we missed it we’d have a lot of cranky people on our hands,” CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said.
This closure will add hours for travelers who take the alternate route. Coming westbound, that route takes drivers north on Colorado 9, westbound on U.S. 40 at Kremmling toward Steamboat Springs, through Hayden and Craig, then south on Colorado 13 toward Rifle, where access to I-70 westbound resumes. The directions are in reverse for eastbound travelers.
Officials along that route have reported major traffic and thus slowdowns for drivers. Long stretches of the route include just one lane in each direction, and several sections of roadway with low speed limits and traffic limits zones towns, such as Steamboat Springs and Craig, plus a construction project at Rabbit Ears Pass.
Officials encouraged travelers to consult cotrip.org for the latest information, and to be wary of navigation apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze, which can sometimes mislead travelers.
Mike Goolsby, a transportation director for CDOT, said that areas of particular concern include mile marker 129.4, where the drainage system is plugged, and mile marker 122.4, where debris flow dammed off the river and toppled a bike path and the eastbound travel portion of the highway.
There is more rain possible in the area Friday and over the weekend, which Goolsby said could add “insult to injury.”
He also said “we’re stretched pretty thin” because of other flash flooding concerns around the state, including in Poudre Canyon, where one woman died this week and three others are reported missing.
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