Sat. May 28th, 2022

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I-70 through Glenwood Canyon reopens to traffic Saturday morning

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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon reopened Saturday morning with a heavily damaged stretch in the Blue Gulch area being limited to one lane in each direction. In a tweet, the Colorado Department of Transportation updated the status of the roadway that had experienced damaging mudslides.

Engineering teams completed visual inspections around Blue Gulch this past week and it’s “structurally sound to support one lane in each direction,” said Keith Stefanik, CDOT deputy incident commander, at a Friday news conference.

Drivers should expect reduced speeds on the highway through the canyon, with top speeds as low as 35 mph along some stretches as repair and construction work continues, said Shoshana Lew, CDOT executive director.

“Take extraordinary care in an active work zone,” Lew said. “Mind the cone zone.”

CDOT crews will continue to monitor for inclement weather and may close the highway again if conditions are deemed unsafe, officials said.

On the west end of the canyon, crews have focused on washing and cleaning operations from No Name to the Hanging Lake Tunnel. On the east end of the canyon, crews have focused on moving dirt behind a barrier and exposing and cleaning drains. Crews have been hauling out hundreds of loads of debris and taking it to a temporary dump site at Bair Ranch and on Colorado 82.

Emergency repair plans and specifications have been distributed to about a dozen contractors and CDOT expects project bids by Thursday, Stefanik said. CDOT plans to award contracts on Friday with long-term construction starting on Monday, August 23.

CDOT officials hope to have the entire canyon stretch back to full capacity and normal, pre-damage levels by Thanksgiving.

The Grizzly Creek Rest Area will not open immediately as there is currently no power to the area and the Hanging Lake Rest Area will remain closed until it is cleared to reopen by the U.S. Forest Service. The Bair Ranch Rest Area will remain closed to the public and be used as a CDOT emergency area. The No Name and Shoshone rest areas will be reopen on Saturday when the highway reopens.

CDOT officials on Friday said that about $1 million has been spent so far and they expect final costs, when work is finished around Thanksgiving, to be about $116 million.

Work, repairs and the traffic flow will remain weather dependent, highway officials said, as rains over the Grizzly Creek fire could cause new, additional mud, rock and debris slides. The canyon has been shut down since July 31. When the highway reopens Saturday afternoon, two lanes will be available in each direction through most of the canyon.

 

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