2 lanes of Glenwood Canyon to open Thursday | VailDaily.com

2 lanes of Glenwood Canyon to open Thursday

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Vail, CO Colorado
Colorado Department of TransportationI-70 has been closed between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs since early Monday morning, forcing motorists to take a lengthy detour that may no longer be necessary Thursday

GLENWOOD CANYON – One lane of Interstate 70 in each direction in Glenwood Canyon should open Thursday after crews do some cleanup, drainage work and final pavement repair, the Colorado Department of Transportation says.

One lane of eastbound and westbound I-70 will reopen by the end of the day Thursday, CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said late Wednesday night.

State work crews, using a helicopter to ferry drilling equipment and a generator high up on the canyon wall, blasted free a huge boulder perched above the site of Monday’s rockslide. Pieces of the boulder rained down on the freeway shortly before 6 p.m., causing no further serious damage than the destruction done by the initial rockslide.

The impact of numerous large rocks and boulders, which fell from the northern canyon wall shortly after midnight on Monday, tore gaping holes in the road platform and closed the freeway in both directions.

The closure forced traffic to detour far to the north on US 40 before dropping back south to the interstate.

Shanks said a team of six workers hiked 900 feet up the canyon wall on Tuesday morning, and “conducted rock scaling operations (removing loose rock material with pry bars and other equipment) until approximately 5:30 p.m.” when they were forced by darkness to suspend work.

A CDOT helicopter had reached the site by 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday, to bring drilling and blasting equipment up to workmen who had once again clambered up the steep canyon walls.

Their goal was to blast into bits a large boulder, said by Shanks to be “approximately 20 feet in diameter,” that officials worried might come loose at any time and crash down onto the freeway.

Shanks said CDOT geologists who returned from the blasting site safely and were “very satisfied” with the work that was accomplished Wednesday. The blasting caused a clean break of the rock from the slope and all of the rocks geologists were concerned about were knocked down.

Because the blasting brought down additional rock, crews will have some cleanup work tomorrow along with drainage work and final pavement repair, she said.

“The good news is that one lane of eastbound and westbound I-70 will reopen by the end of the day (Thursday),” she said.

A woman commuting to work in northwest Colorado was killed Wednesday when a basketball-size boulder fell on a car on U.S. 40, about 60 miles north of the I-70 incident, the State Patrol said.

That part of U.S. 40 is one of the detours around the I-70 rock slide, but there was no indication the woman had gone that way because of the slide.

The coroner identified her as Karen Lynn Evanoff, 55, of Craig, a passenger in the car. The unidentified driver was unhurt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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