Canyon repairs on two-month deadline |

Canyon repairs on two-month deadline

Dennis Webb
Special to the Daily/ Kara K. PearsonLarge stretches of guardrail and the Interstate 70 road deck were damaged during a large rockslide near Hanging Lake, highway exit 125. According to state officials, the rockslide happened about 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning, wreaking havoc with travelers' holiday plans.

GLENWOOD CANYON – Repairs to Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon could be completed within two months – weather willing.An estimated 200 tons of rock fell about 1,500 feet onto the highway on just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnels on Thanksgiving Day, knocking van-sized holes through the deck in each direction and closing I-70 for about 30 hours. Since then, traffic has been restricted to one lane in each direction, which will continue to be the case during the construction work. Trucks more than 12 feet wide and 100 feet in length continue to be prohibited from traveling through Glenwood Canyon.

The eastbound lanes will be repaired first, and one eastbound lane kept open during that work, which contractors expect to take about a month. Then both westbound and eastbound traffic will be shifted to the eastbound lanes while work takes place on the westbound lanes.The contractor hired to do that work, Kiewit Western, will fix eight damaged sections of bridge deck on the eastbound lanes and roadway damage on the westbound lanes. The work will require a significant amount of pavement to be removed and replaced, according to the Department of Transportation.Hunter Sydnor, a spokesman for the contractor, called 60 days “a very aggressive schedule” for repairing the highway.

“We feel very confident we can get the job done in 60 days, but there’s always the weather that’s going to be the unknown in all of this work,” Sydnor said. “But I think we’re prepared to get it done.”Damaged sections of several hundred feet of concrete barrier and guardrail will be replaced. And Kiewit Western will design and build about 50 feet of new retaining wall, about 23 feet high, along the westbound lanes to replace damaged sections.The Department of Transportation has previously estimated that the cost of the rockslide will reach $1 million. Agency spokeswoman Mindy Crane said that’s still possible, when expenses such as the past few days’ cleanup work and possible contract revisions and late penalties are considered.If the contractor, which began work Wednesday, does not finish in 60 days, a $5,000-per-day penalty could kick in. Kiewit Western would be rewarded $5,000 for each day it finishes early, up to a maximum reward of $35,000.

Crane asked motorists to drive carefully during the repair work. Traffic will be shifted around and work will take place close to traffic, she said.”The lanes might not look the same every day. It’s very important for people to drive slowly and pay attention,” she said. “For everybody’s safety, drive slowly.” Vail Colorado

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