I-70 Sinkhole repairs moving right along | VailDaily.com

I-70 Sinkhole repairs moving right along

Christine Ina Casillas

Water began rushing again through a new culvert under Interstate 70 in East Vail – site of the famous “sinkhole” – late Tuesday.

Construction crews had worked for more than a month to get the culvert ready after it was washed away in a rain storm in June.

Traffic on I-70 should be open in both directions sometime next week, said Bob Wilson, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“The eastbound lanes still need more work, raising the surface levels of the roadway, as well as paving the roads and a few other operations before it can be open,” Wilson said. “The water is back in its regular configuration. Cars will be able to travel west of that culvert, we anticipate, sometime next week.”

East Vail flood

Bighorn Creek in East Vail overran its banks in early June, causing a part of the interstate to collapse and flooding parts of East Vail. As a result of the damage, I-70 closed for four days from Copper Mountain to Vail, forcing motorists to take a 54-mile detour to Leadville that involved a twisty, two-lane mountain road over two high passes at the Continental Divide.

Heavy spring snowmelt run-off, bolstered by several hours of rain, led to the creation of a 20-foot sinkhole in the median and the westbound lanes of the Interstate, with Bighorn Creek roaring underneath like a geyser.

The flood caused about $2 million in damage to public and private property, including 28 homes.

Repairing flood damage

Reconstruction began last week on the two East Vail neighborhood streets that were damaged by the floods, working on Spruce Way from Spruce Drive to Bighorn Creek and on Columbine Drive from the north end of the tunnel to Bighorn Road.

The project is expected to cost $253,000, taking up to eight weeks to complete.

The Colorado Department of Transportation authorized up to $300,000 to assist with the damage, transportation officials said. Of that, $142,000 will be used to cost-share the street repair. Vail will cover the balance of the project, town officials said.

In addition to the transportation department’s reimbursement for the rebuild of Spruce Way and Columbine Drive, the agency also approved a $150,000 payment to the town to cover the cost of emergency response teams and equipment during the flooding.

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism