I-70 reopens in both directions through Glenwood Canyon | VailDaily.com

I-70 reopens in both directions through Glenwood Canyon

Rocks litter westbound Interstate 70 on the morning of June 11, 2015. The slide forced authorities to close the freeway in both directions.
Guy Patterson / Contributed photo |

EAGLE COUNTY — Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon, closed at 8:22 a.m. Thursday because of a rockslide, opened just before 4:30 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., several small rocks continued to fall in the area just west of the Hanging Lake tunnels in the eastbound lanes at about mile marker 125, a common spot for rockfall.

A CDOT geotech crew was working in the area, and the agency closed the interstate in both directions between Glenwood Springs and Dotsero.

“The slope is still really unstable,” CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said early in the afternoon. “Fortunately, this one didn’t do any major damage to the road deck. If we don’t see much more activity, it looks like it will only need minor repairs.”

She said seven to eight 1-ton boulders fell onto the interstate. No vehicles were involved and no one was hurt.

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“Especially in an area that sees this much rockfall, we err on the side of caution,” she said, acknowledging the inconvenience for motorists.

Guy Patterson, De Beque’s town manager who commutes there twice a week from Avon, was stopped by the slide and emailed pictures to the Post Independent.

“I’m wondering if my commute back today will be over Independence or through Meeker,” he said.

Several truckers parked along U.S. Highway 6 in West Glenwood to wait out the closure.

Dana Reynolds, a trucker from New York, was traveling east to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to deliver produce to a Wal-Mart. The main product he was carrying were peppers, including hot peppers.

“It’s only 250 miles, but it’s produce and it’s got to get there tomorrow,” Reynolds said.

He said at the Utah border there was an “alternate route,” which he said wasn’t really an alternate route that would help at all. ”It’s not worth to go all the way around.

“I’m just going to have to wait it out,” he said.

Jeff Szentmartony of Idaho Falls was at a West Glenwood convenience store at mid-morning after pulling off of I-70. He was headed home, pulling his camper, after camping at Rifle Falls State Park. He called 511 to see what was going on and heard that the road was closed indefinitely.

“When the rain’s this much, it has a tendency to slide,” Szentmartony said. “It is what it is, I’m not going to get upset about it.”

To get around the backup, he was going to take Independence Pass — an option not open to truckers, who are banned from the pass.

Colorado’s wet spring added to rockfall on the state’s roads, Bob Group, an engineering geologist with the Colorado Department of Transportation, told the PI at the end of May.

“We had a lot more than normal” statewide, with some slides covering lanes of travel or whole roads, he said.

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