CDOT and partner agencies continue to assess I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety protocol |

CDOT and partner agencies continue to assess I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety protocol

The Colorado Department of Transportation and partner agencies continue to assess the safety protocol in place for Interstate 70, rest areas and the recreation path in Glenwood Canyon. The goal is to continue to review how effective the protocol has been in protecting the traveling public, and whether the protocol needs to be adjusted while maintaining safety in the canyon. 

During an assessment in early July, CDOT met with the National Weather Service and U.S. Geological Survey. Team members reviewed closure data, weather forecasts, safety incidents in the canyon and other factors. 

When reviewing these factors in mid-July, CDOT and partner agencies determined the current protocol is the most effective at keeping the traveling public safe. New data will continue to be added to the next calculations. The safety protocol may be adjusted if those changes allow crews to continue keeping Glenwood Canyon safe for the traveling public.

“We understand the safety closures of I-70, the rest areas and recreation path are challenging for motorists and local communities,” said Region 3 Transportation Director Jason Smith. “Unfortunately they are necessary to protect the traveling public. We have been fortunate to have little to no flooding in the canyon during the 2022 monsoon season. However, the season is not over, and the canyon is still at a high risk for mudslides and debris flows. It is essential that CDOT continue to protect the traveling public from these dangers.”

In Glenwood Canyon, the I-70 roadway, rest areas and recreation path are at risk of being damaged by a mudslide or flooding from rain on the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar. The 2020 fire burned next to and above the roadway, rest areas and recreation path. Heavy rain in 2021 caused extensive debris flows and damage more than once. 

If there is a Flash Flood Warning issued for the Grizzly Creek burn scar, CDOT will close I-70 in Glenwood Canyon from Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) to Exit 133 (Dotsero). A closure point will also be in place at exit 87 (West Rifle) to detour eastbound traffic onto northbound Colorado Highway 13. All traffic in Glenwood Canyon will immediately be evacuated from I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. The rest areas and path will be closed and evacuated.

CDOT’s website and smartphone app will display closure information in the alerts and on the map. Motorists will continue to have access to Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley. Having an additional closure point west of Glenwood Springs allows CDOT, CSP and partner agencies to safely manage a closure, allowing emergency vehicles to pass through closure points and without requiring motorists to wait on I-70 for an extended period of time.

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