Update: Geologists examine massive Glenwood Canyon boulder
Vail, CO, Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Crews started their hike up the mountain in the Glenwood Canyon early this morning to begin rock mitigation work on the area above the damaged section of Interstate 70, which remains closed.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, geologists believe a 20-foot diameter boulder may be too unstable to remain on the mountain above the highway. Once they reach the boulder, crews will determine the boulder’s stability and bring it down if necessary.
Governor Bill Ritter declared the 17-mile stretch of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon a disaster emergency Monday. The declaration will allow the state to seek funding from the Federal Highway Administration to help pay for repairs.
Department of Transportation program engineer Joe Elsen estimated that repair costs could be as much as $2 million.
Transportation officials are still not ready to estimate when the road will reopen.
The interstate has been closed in both directions at the Glenwood Canyon since about midnight Sunday after about 20 boulders, ranging in size from three to 20 feet, crashed down onto the road. The largest boulder weighed an estimated 66 tons, according to state engineers.